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.
See the winner’s interview here thanks to the Epson Tour.
“I did not expect a win this early in my career,” conceded Kim.
“To have an Epson 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.