Aussie Grace Kim has significantly elevated her chances of securing an LPGA Tour card with victory on the circuit’s secondary Epson Tour.
Meanwhile, Kim’s compatriots Sarah Jane Smith and Robyn Choi helped to make it an Australian dominated top-five at the IOA Golf Classic presented by LPT Realty.
Sharing the lead after the opening two rounds of the 54 hole event with Korea’s Kum-Kang Park, Kim would have been feeling the nerves after a bogey at the par-3 2nd, before the Sydneysider hailing from Avondale Golf Club rediscovered the sparkling form she displayed during the Australian summer of golf to pull away from the field.
Having delivered a mixed bag of results since returning to the U.S. and chase a card on the biggest stage in the women’s game, Kim birdied three of her next four holes to make the turn in two-under.
The 21-year-old then producing a bogey-free back nine with three bridies and an eagle to sign for a seven-under 64 and 18-under total.
Smith was in a share of second with Korea’s Hyo Joon Jang, the pair five shots in arrears of Kim, while Choi was a shot further back in a share of fourth with America’s Katelyn Sisk.
Earning US$30,000 for her maiden win as a pro, Kim now jumps from 75th to seventh in the ‘Race for the Card’ on the Epson Tour where the top-10 at season’s end received LPGA status.
Kim will also receive a nice bump in the Rolex Rankings where she sat at No.303 in the world heading into the week.
The good week at Alaqua Country Club in Florida for the Aussies was shared by Hira Naveed (T15), Karis Davidson (T24), Soo Jin Lee (T28) and Gabi Ruffels (T35).