Aussies on Tour: Classy Kim earns first pro win - PGA of Australia

Aussies on Tour: Classy Kim earns first pro win

It has taken Sydney’s Grace Kim just six starts to earn her first win on the Epson Tour as she eyes promotion to the LPGA Tour.

Tied for the lead through two rounds, Kim used an eagle from 16 feet at the par-5 16th to clinch a five-stroke victory with a three-round total of 18-under at the IOA Golf Classic in Florida.

Kim went 66-65-64 to relegate fellow Australian Sarah Jane Smith (68) to second spot with Robyn Choi (67) rounding out an excellent tournament for the Aussies in a share of fourth.

With her father Kevin on the bag, Kim dropped a shot at the par-3 second but bounced back quickly with birdies at three, five and six to edge clear.

A prolific winner as an amateur and a two-time winner on the Women’s All Pro Tour prior to turning professional last year, Kim kept the hammer down, allowing herself a brief moment to exhale when she made eagle at the 16th.

She closed in style with a sixth birdie at the par-3 18th to further emphasise her status as a star of the future by claiming victory in the same event won by fellow Aussie Hannah Green in 2017.

“I did not expect a win this early in my career,” conceded Kim.

“To have an Epson (Tour) event as my first professional career win is quite special and to have Dad on the bag is that little bit extra on top.

“This is a good start. I think he’s going to stay on the bag for a little bit,” added Kim following her father’s arrival from Sydney on Monday.

A member of the Golf Australia Rookie Squad, Kim’s previous best finish prior to this week was a tie for 17th at the Copper Rock Championship.

She and coach Khan Pullen had spoken recently with regards to the need to stay patient as she elevates her game into more elite professional company.

It was advice that proved prudent as Kim moved from 75th to seventh in the Race To The Card, the top 10 at season’s end to earn direct promotion to the LPGA Tour in 2023.

It was very nearly cause for a double celebration among the Aussie girls this week after Perth’s Whitney Hillier missed out on a maiden Ladies European Tour title at the Jabra Ladies Open in France.

Out to a three-stroke lead early in the final round, Hillier shot 69 in the final round to finish tied with Tiia Koivisto at the end of 54 holes, Koivisto’s birdie at the first playoff hole denying Hillier the victory.

Brad Kennedy missed the three-man playoff at the Golf Partner Pro-Am Tournament by a single stroke as he settled for a share of fourth while Cameron Smith and Lucas Herbert were the top Aussies at the US PGA Championship, the pair finishing tied for 13th as Justin Thomas bested Will Zalatoris in the playoff.

Epson Tour
IOA Golf Classic
Alaqua Country Club, Longwood, Florida
Winner Grace Kim           66-65-64—195  $US30,000
T2          Sarah Jane Smith             66-66-68—200  $16,514
T4          Robyn Choi        68-66-67—201  $9,773
T15        Hira Naveed       66-71-69—206  $2,967
T24        Karis Davidson  70-68-70—208  $2,133
T28        Soo Jin Lee         67-71-71—209  $1,756
T35        Gabriela Ruffels 70-69-71—210  $1,299
T63        Amelia Garvey   71-70-76—217  $672
MC        Stephanie Na     73-72—145
MC        Julienne Soo      73-75—148

US PGA Championship
Southern Hills Country Club, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Winner Justin Thomas   67-67-74-67—275           $US2.7m
Won in three-hole aggregate playoff
T13        Cameron Smith 68-70-73-69—280           $291,250
T13        Lucas Herbert    68-73-68-71—280           $291,250
T34        Marc Leishman 72-71-73-68—284           $71,250
T48        Cam Davis          72-72-72-70—286           $35,000
54          Ryan Fox             70-70-70-77—287           $29,250
T55        Jason Day           71-72-72-73—288           $28,750
MC        Min Woo Lee     73-72—145
MC        Adam Scott        77-70—147
MC        Matt Jones         73-77—150

Korn Ferry Tour
Advent Health Championship
Blue Hills Country Club, Kansas City, Missouri
Winner Trevor Cone       65-67-70-70—272           $US135,000
T38        Nick Voke           70-71-73-71—285           $3,878
MC        Rhein Gibson     75-71—146
MC        Brett Drewitt     73-77—150

Challenge Tour
Challenge de Espana
Iberostar Real Club de Golf Novo Sancti Petri, Cadiz, Spain
Winner Jens Dantorp     74-71-67-66—278           €40,000
T53        Josh Geary         71-76-72-76—295           €925
T53        Dimitrios Papadatos       75-76-74-70—295           €925
T58        Daniel Hillier      73-77-73-74—297           €812.50
MC        Jarryd Felton      77-75—152
MC        Blake Windred  78-74—152
MC        Deyen Lawson   73-80—153

Ladies European Tour
Jabra Ladies Open
Evian Resort Golf Club, Évian-les-Bains, France
Winner Tiia Koivisto       72-69-66—207  €37,500
Won on first hole of sudden-death playoff
2            Whitney Hillier  67-71-69—207  €22,500
MC        Amy Walsh        84-71—155

Japan Golf Tour
Golf Partner Pro-Am Tournament
Toride Kokusai Golf Club, Tsukubamirai, Japan
Winner Shugo Imahira   65-67-61-65—258           ¥10m
Won on second hole of sudden-death playoff
T4          Brad Kennedy    61-63-69-66—259           ¥2.2m
T16        Anthony Quayle              66-68-67-64—265           ¥737,500
T22        Brendan Jones  70-63-69-65—267           ¥447,500
T37        Andrew Evans   68-66-68-68—270           ¥245,000
MC        David Bransdon 68-71—139
MC        Adam Bland       68-71—139
MC        Dylan Perry        69-70—139
MC        Matthew Griffin              69-70—139
MC        Michael Hendry 72-70—142

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