At an early age spending countless hours at the golf course, Sue Kim has always been a daddy’s girl. Born in Korea but raised in Canada, the duo remained side-by-side during lengthy practice sessions, but all that would change in the blink of an eye in 2010.
While preparing to leave for the U.S. Women’s Amateur, Kim received devastating life changing news that her father passed away in a car accident.
“Actually, weird enough, it was literally the day before I was supposed to leave for the U.S. Women’s Am,” said Kim. “I heard the news and had to prepare for the funeral then I actually left three days after the funeral to go play in the CPGA event and finished second. Obviously at the time it didn’t really hit me because that’s something that you can’t really accept right away.”
Despite the solid finish, the void left from her father’s death would prove to be too overwhelming in days to come and left her questioning her career path.
Kim attended the University of Denver for a short amount of time but left to turn professional, forfeiting her amateur status. With the lengthy process put into place for players to regain their status as an amateur, Kim was forced to continue playing golf as her career.
“Both my parents got me into golf but he was the one that actually guided me to develop and was the one that came on the driving range with me and we would go out to play together,” said Kim. “After that, I didn’t really know what to do. The third stage of Q-School was an epic fail then I went to Korea for a couple months with my mom and got to see a few relatives who asked me if I really wanted to play golf. I didn’t know what to do right at that moment, either I go back to school which I left and I turned pro already and made money so it would be hard to go back to an amateur, so I thought I’d play golf.”
In 2011, Kim was reassured she made the right decision after finishing T13 in her first Symetra Tour event at the Santorini Riviera Nayarit Classic. For the first time since her father’s unexpected death, Kim’s love was renewed for the game she has played since the age of seven.
“I went back home and played the first week on the Symetra Tour in Mexico and finished 13th,” said Kim. “Then I was like alright, this is fun. When the results show, it’s fun.”
Now in her third year on the Symetra Tour, Kim recently broke through to record her first career victory at the Decatur-Forsyth Classic. Kim began Sunday’s final-round so far off the lead that she teed off on the back-nine of Hickory Point Golf Club.
After a blistering 9-under 63 and a one-hole playoff, Kim hoisted the trophy on Father’s Day with her dad looking over her. With her eyes filled with tears, Kim dedicated the win to her late father in the tournament’s trophy ceremony.
“It was really emotional, I didn’t even know that it was Father’s Day until my sister told me,” said Kim. “It seemed like everything just came together, like who wins it from the back side.”
As Kim is in the midst of a season that has her ranked No. 2 on the Volvik Race for the Card, there is no doubt that her father is with her every step of the way along her journey on the Road to the LPGA.