Kim has consistently led the LPGA Tour from start to finish, securing six consecutive wins
Kim Hyo-joo was thirsty for a win on the LPGA (United States Women’s Professional Golf) Tour. After winning the Lotte Championship in April last year, she had two runner-up finishes and four third-place finishes. This season, her stroke average was the best on the tour, but wins were eluding her. It was frustrating. I finally quenched that thirst.
On Sept. 9 at the Ascendant LPGA ($1.8 million purse), Kim Hyo-ju (28, World No. 7) added her first win in a year and a half. The final four rounds of the tournament were played at Old American Golf Club (par 71-6475) in Texas, USA. Kim started the day with a five-stroke lead, with runners-up Ataya Thititjerin (20-Thailand) and Bianca Pagdanganan (26-Philippines) close behind. On the ninth (par-4), her putt caught on the edge of the hole, but as Kim walked toward it, it fell into the hole for birdie.
In the final round, she shaved two strokes off her score with four birdies and two bogeys for a final total of 13-under-par 271. That’s four shots off the second-place group (9-under par). 바카라사이트 Led the field in rounds one through four to earn a “wire-to-wire” victory. Her sixth career LPGA title. It is the first time Kim has won wire-to-wire on the LPGA Tour.
She won $270,000 (approximately $360,000). She is now sixth on the money list with $2,049,778 so far this season. The leader is Allison Kopuz (25-USA) with $2.95 million. This year marks the first time that Kim has earned more than $2 million in a season since breaking onto the LPGA Tour in 2014 with a win at the Evian Championship. Kim’s average driving distance of 249.2 yards this season ranks near the bottom of the Tour (133rd), but she leads the Tour in birdies (280), has nine top-10 finishes, is second in driving accuracy (83.2%) and third in greens in regulation (74.1%).
“I didn’t play badly this year, but I was disappointed not to win,” Kim said, “I really wanted to win before the year ended.” Now she has her sights set on the Bear Trophy, which is awarded to the player with the highest seasonal average. Currently, Kim sits atop the leaderboard with a 69.667 stroke average, followed by Tee Tae-jin in second (70.017) and 28-year-old Ko Jin-young in third (70.019).
Kim has won 14 career titles on the Korean Ladies Professional Golf Association (KLPGA) Tour, including Rookie of the Year (2013), Money List (2014-2020) and Grand Prize (2014), but has never won a major award on the LPGA Tour, including Player of the Year or Rookie of the Year. On the LPGA Tour, she added one win a year from 2014 to 2016, then went on a slump before adding one win a year again from 2021 to this year, five years after her last win. “I realized something in practice and focused on it, and I was able to maintain a good stroke and feel in this tournament,” she said, adding, “I tried to get the distance right without being too sensitive.” Yoo So-yeon (33) finished tied for seventh (5-under par) and Shin Ji-eun (31) and Lee Jeong (27) tied for 24th (even par).
This brings the total number of LPGA Tour victories for South Korean players this year to four. Ko Jin-young, the highest-ranked Korean player at No. 3, won the HSBC Women’s World Championship in March and the Cognizant Founders Cup in May, while Hae-ran Ha, 22, the No. 1-ranked rookie this season, won the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship on Feb. 2. For the second week in a row, South Koreans Hae-ran Ha and Hyo-joo Kim won. LPGA Tour wins by Korean women golfers have plummeted from 15 in 2019 and seven each in 2020 and 2021 to just four last year. The LPGA Tour will head to Asia for four weeks starting on Dec. 12 for four more tournaments in China, South Korea, Malaysia and Japan.