Kim Kaufman’s sudden rise in the golf world continued over the past couple weeks, to the point where the 22-year-old South Dakota native may be on the LPGA for keeps.
After finishing fourth at the North Texas LPGA Shootout last week, the 5-foot-11 Texas Tech graduate quickly flew home to Orlando, hopped in her car and headed to this week’s Symetra Tour event in Greenwood, SC. It may be her last Symetra Tour start this season.
“It was amazing last week,” Kaufman said. “It changed my career, changed my summer. It got me into the top 80 on the LPGA, but also gave me a ton of confidence as well. Now I know I can actually compete to win out there.”
After graduating from Tech last May with a 4.0 grade-point average in Political Science, Kaufman quickly turned pro and made her pro debut three weeks later on the Symetra Tour in Decatur, IL. She finished in the top 10 and won two weeks later at the Island Resort Championship in Harris, MI. Earlier this year, she earned her second professional title as a final-round 66 earned the trophy at the Volvik Championship in Los Angeles.
With conditional LPGA status, Kaufman was focused on the Symetra Tour this year to earn full LPGA playing privileges for 2015, with an occasional dip of the toe into a LPGA event. She is ranked seventh on the Symetra money list currently. But that dip turned into a full baptism in April. She finished tied for 42nd in Hawaii at the LPGA LOTTE Championship in her LPGA debut on April 19 and picked up the pace last week. She shot 66-68 in the middle rounds, including the third-round 68 while paired with Suzann Pettersen and Azahara Munoz.
Through two LPGA starts, Kaufman has earned $60,653, nearly twice as much as she earned on the 2013 Symetra Tour. She is averaging 270.8 yards in Driving Distance over two weeks on the LPGA and has five of her eight rounds at par or better. The good finish pushed her to 54th on the money list and virtually assures her of getting in most LPGA events for the remainder of 2014. She will be in the field for next week’s Kingsmill Championship in Williamsburg, VA, then travel to Mobile, AL, for the Airbus Mobile Bay LPGA Classic and on to New Jersey for a U.S. Women’s Open qualifier and that week’s ShopRite LPGA Classic before, finally, a week off. The high finish in Texas also improved her positioning in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings to 194th, an improvement of 143 spots over last week.
The ascent is quite a journey from growing up at the nine-hole Clark (SD) Golf Club which has no bunkers and water hazards all the way to the LPGA.