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Drummond Golf oct 2020

As the sun began to sink behind the mountains at Hoakalei Country Club, Australian rookie Grace Kim drained a tricky 5-foot birdie putt to win her first LPGA Tour title at the LOTTE Championship presented by Hoakalei in a playoff with Yu Jin Sung and Yu Liu. The trio of players finished at -12 overall, with Kim capturing the title in just her third start as an LPGA Tour Member. 

Kim started the day one back of Sung, in a tie for second with major champion Georgia Hall. She immediately tied Sung at -9 with a birdie on the first hole, but the KLPGA winner quickly snatched it back, making birdies on holes three and five to move to -11.

Kim went birdie-bogey on the fifth and sixth holes, turning in 35 to sit at -10, tied for the lead with Sung, who dropped a shot on the ninth, and Yu Liu, who put on a bogey-free show on Saturday, five groups ahead of the leaders. Sung regained the lead at -11 with a birdie on the 10th, and Liu tied that mark with a birdie on No. 14. Liu ultimately posted the clubhouse lead at -12 after a birdie on No. 16, setting the mark for Kim and Sung to match. 

As she made her way down the stretch, Kim dug deep, making birdie on the challenging par-4 17th and matching Sung’s birdie on the par-5 18th to force a three-way playoff. Playing the 18th again, all three players went for the green in two with Liu hitting hers long and left, Sung coming up short and left, and Kim pushing her approach right to sit pin-high. Liu’s third came up well short before Sung blasted her third over the green and nearly in the penalty area, giving the advantage to Kim.

The 22-year-old Epson Tour graduate nearly holed her chip shot and buried the birdie putt right in the heart, giving Australia its first LPGA Tour winner since Minjee Lee won last year’s U.S. Women’s Open.

“I definitely wanted to have a good go at it knowing that the green wasn't the best angle in from where we were. I would have to admit that I wasn't planning to go that aggressive. I did push it right,” said Kim. “I got lucky. Definitely aimed at the pin for a little kind of play for landing in between the bunker and hopefully does something miraculous. But I guess you can make birdies in other ways. So, a different way of miraculous happened.” 

Kim is the 12th player from Australia to win on the LPGA Tour, joining her idol Karrie Webb, someone who has been instrumental to her young career. Though she didn’t chat with her before the final round, Kim said she could feel Webb’s presence as she was making her way down the stretch and feels honored to be among the list of Australian LPGA champions. “I think it really just puts the cherry on top of my career,” she said. “I know it's just the beginning, but seeing how much they really motivated me to get here, yeah, it's really exciting.”


Grace Kim
2023 Race to CME Globe Points List
2023 LPGA Tour Wins
2023 LPGA Tour Top 10s (excludes wins)
2023 Season Earnings
Career LPGA Tour Wins
Career Ladies European Tour Wins
Career Epson Tour Wins
Career LPGA Tour Top 10s (excludes wins)
Career Money


Rolex Rankings No. 178 Grace Kim (1, 71-67-70-68)

  • Kim hit 11 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens with 28 putts
  • Kim is the third Rolex First-Time Winner of the 2023 season, joining Lilia Vu (Honda LPGA Thailand) and Ruoning Yin (DIO Implant LA Open)
  • Kim is the first Australian to win on the LPGA Tour since Minjee Lee won the 2022 U.S. Women’s Open at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club
  • Kim is the 12th different player from Australia to win on the LPGA Tour
  • Kim is the first rookie of the 2023 season to win on Tour and the first rookie winner since Atthaya Thitikul captured her second 2022 victory at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G last September
  • Kim is a 2022 Epson Tour graduate; she finished fifth in the Race for the Card to earn LPGA Tour Membership for the 2023 season
  • Kim competed as an amateur in the 2018, 2019 and 2020 ISPS Handa Vic Open
  • She captured a seven-stroke victory at the 2021 Australian Women’s Amateur
  • Kim was the individual gold medalist at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires
  • Kim was a two-time winner on the Women’s All Pro Tour (WAPT) in 2021 as an amateur
  • She won the 2021 (as an amateur) and 2022 TPS Sydney on the ALPG Tour
  • Kim is a two-time winner of the New South Wales Women’s Amateur Championship (2020, 2021)
  • Kim competed in the 2021 Augusta National Women’s Amateur, becoming the second Australian to be invited to the prestigious championship