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Golf: Kim Sei-young clinches LPGA’s Rolex Rookie of the Year

Kim Sei-young pipped Kim Hyo-joo for the Rolex Rookie of the Year award. Image: LPGA.

Kim Sei-young pipped Kim Hyo-joo for the Rolex Rookie of the Year award. Image: LPGA.

November 9, 2015: Kim Sei-young has been named the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year after a spectacular season that has already included three LPGA victories, with two events left to play.

 

Kim, 22, had put one hand on the trophy when she won this month’s Blue Bay LPGA in Hainan, China, and then clinched the award when Korean compatriot Kim Hyo-joo failed to win the Toto Japan Classic the following weekend.

 

“I am humbled, honoured and excited to claim this prestigious award. This is the best award to win. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and it’s great to have won it against the strong 2015 rookie class,” Kim said.

 

“My main goal coming into this season was to make a positive impact on the LPGA and improve my Rolex Ranking. Winning the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year is definitely a dream come true, a special surprise and bonus for me.”

 

The Taekwondo black belt locked up the honour after piling up three victories, one runner-up and six additional top-10 finishes in 25 events. She’s currently World No. 7.

 

Kim joined Karrie Webb as the second-fastest player ever to win in her rookie season with a playoff victory at the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic, the second event of the season. Only Beverly Hanson was quicker, winning the 1951 Eastern Open in her first LPGA start.

 

Even more impressive than Kim’s win at the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic was the spectacular fashion in which she won April’s Lotte Championship Presented by Hershey.

 

She earned ESPN SportsCenter’s ‘Top Play of the Day’ when she holed out a chip on the 72nd hole to force a playoff with Park In-bee. Kim then won the playoff by holing out for eagle from the fairway at the par-four 18th with a 154-yard eight-iron that took one hop and landed in the cup.

 

With two tournaments left on this year’s LPGA schedule, Kim has already earned the third most money ever by a rookie and has a shot to join Lydia Ko as only the second rookie ever to top US$2 million in earnings.

 

Kim’s three wins in her rookie year match Ko’s achievement last year, although Pak Se-ri holds the record after winning four times as a rookie in 1998.

 

Since the award’s inception in 1962, nine winners have become members of the World Golf Hall of Fame: Joanne Carner (1970), Amy Alcott (1975), Nancy Lopez (1978), Beth Daniel (1979), Patty Sheehan (1981), Juli Inkster (1984), Annika Sorenstam (1994), Karrie Webb (1996) and Pak Se-ri (1998).

 

Source: LPGA (www.lpga.com); Editing by SportAsia

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