Western Australia’s Kirsten Rudgeley and Grace Kim from New South Wales are the recipients of the Karrie Webb Scholarships for 2021.
The scholarships are awarded based on performance in the Karrie Webb Series, the World Amateur Golf Rankings, community work inside or outside of golf and performance and demeanour as an ambassador for golf in Australia and overseas.
Because of the impact that Covid-19 travel restrictions had on the fields in many of the qualifying events, one of the scholarships this year was determined solely as a result of a selection decision by Karrie Webb in discussion with Golf Australia staff. Previously the two recipients were taken directly from the rankings at the end of the Karrie Webb Series of women’s events in Australia.
Rudgeley, 20, is a first-time recipient of the award, while Kim, also 20, takes up the scholarship for the fourth year.
In February at Kooyonga in Adelaide, the pair were the top two finishers in the Australian Amateur, with Avondale Golf Club’s Kim coming out on top.
“I was so shocked to receive this scholarship because I know how prestigious it is,” said Rudgeley, who has previously won three WA Amateurs and a Victorian Amateur.
“This scholarship means the world to me. It will allow me to travel internationally to play events and most importantly to meet Karrie for the first time. I feel like all the hard work and time I’ve spent on and off the course has finally paid off, not only for my myself but for my family.”
RIGHT: Kim (pictured) and Rudgeley (top) were the top two finishers in the Australian Amateur earlier this year. PHOTOS: Getty Images.
Kim, who this week is the only Australian playing in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, has previously won multiple New South Wales Amateurs, the Australian Amateur, the Australian Junior Amateur and a Youth Olympics gold medal. She is the top-ranked Australian in the women’s world rankings for amateurs.
“I’m so thrilled to receive this scholarship again,” she said. “I can’t thank Karrie enough and acknowledge her generosity enough. Honestly, she inspires me more every year to succeed as she has and to give back as she continually does. She is the idol of so many female golfers, myself included.
“I feel very lucky to receive this opportunity to develop my game by travelling and playing.”
The two recipients will receive mentoring and guidance from the great Karrie Webb, winner of seven major championships and five Women’s Australian Opens among more than 50 worldwide victories. They will also receive funding to cover travel to play in overseas tournaments in 2021.
Although some specifics of their scholarship are still subject to Covid-19 travel restrictions, last year’s recipients spent time at an LPGA Tour tournament with Webb as well as practising with her.
“After a challenging year, I’m really happy that the series was able to be contested, albeit that it was harder for the girls to play in all the events they would have liked,” said Webb.
“It’s a credit to GA and all the state bodies that any of these events were able to go ahead at all.
“I’m excited that the two recipients are a veteran of sorts, and a first-timer. Grace Kim is now the first four-time recipient, which shows how consistently well she has played over the past four years, capping that off with the Australian Amateur win this year.
“Kirsten Rudgeley is a first-time recipient this year and from all accounts played the most consistently good golf over the events she was able to play. I have heard a lot of great things about Kirsten’s game and look forward to meeting her very soon.”
The Karrie Webb Scholarship dates to 2008. Past recipients include the likes of LPGA Tour stars Minjee Lee, Hannah Green and Su Oh.