Avondale’s Grace Kim has taken another impressive step in her first year in the pay for play ranks by securing her first start in a Major at this year’s US Women’s Open.
Kim booked her ticket to Pine Needles Lodge from June 2nd to 6th via sectional qualifying at Morris Country Golf Club in New Jersey overnight. The 21-year-old carding rounds of 72 and 74 to finish tied for fourth alongside Thailand’s Phatlum Pornanong for the fourth and final place on offer.
“This was probably one of the toughest golf courses I’ve ever played. It was pretty hilly grades were very quick, so probably equivalent close to Royal Melbourne.
“Just being able to manage myself well mentally was really, really tough,” Kim beamed after sealing her place.
It was an enormous day for the 21Avondale young gun. After starting in the second group out for the day, Kim had to endure a two and a half hour wait at the end of regulation play before finding out her fate was to be determined in a playoff.
After forcing the playoff the Avondale gun made no mistake. the pair both found the fairway on the playoff hole, however, with the exact same distance to the green, Kim got the break by getting first chance to hit. Despite coming up short, it proved telling moment with the Thai collecting there trees and leaving herself a tricky bunker shot.
“It was down hill down wind, and with the way my ball was lying, the ball was going to come out a bit lower and I did not want to go to long, especially knowing how quick these greens are,” She added.
“She then went and hit a tree left and ended up in the bunker but her feet were out, I guess it was flat enough for her to have a good go at it.”
Sadly for the Thai, she made a mess of the recovery attempt, leaving Kim with the relatively comfort of a couple of shots to win, fortunately she only needed one, and when she holed it for par, the playoff was all over.
“It just happened too quickly before my eyes. Holing a 12 footer for par on the first hole to clinch the last remaining spot I’m ecstatic. Over the moon!”
After an impressive year in 2021 on US soil, winning twice and finishing inside the top ten in her first start on the Symetra Tourn(now Epson Tour), Kim secured conditional status on the ET for 2022.
Returning home to compete during the Australian Summer of Golf, Kim wowed many followers of the sport with an impressive runners-up display against the men in the Western Regional Open at Dubbo Golf Club In December. She doubled down on that result by finishing runner up in the Inaugural WPGA Championship at Royal Queensland, won by Su OH.
Maude Leblanc of Florida won the sectional with an even-par score of 144, while Lauen Kim and Frida Kinhult shared runners-up spoils at one over par.
All eyes will be on Kim, However on this side of the Pacific when she makes her Major debut in three weeks time.
“I’m definitely going to be grinding the next couple of weeks even as I’m playing in Florida.
“Honestly, I think I’m more excited for people to watch me play and hopefully I’ll be playing good.” Kim grinned.