Fourth Annual Kia Performance Awards Recognize Excellence On And Off The Course
Lydia Ko, Joanna Klatten, Sei Young Kim and I.K. Kim drive away with honors and new 2016 Kia Sorento CUVs
NAPLES, Fla., November 18, 2015 – LPGA Tour professionals Lydia Ko, Joanna Klatten, Sei Young Kim and I.K. Kim will be driving home from the CME Group Tour Championship in their new 2016 Sorentos after being handed the keys to Kia’s most sophisticated and capable CUV as winners of the fourth annual Kia Performance Awards for their efforts in statistical, performance and community categories in 2015.
“The Kia Performance Awards and this week’s event mark the finale of what has been a terrific year for Kia’s partnership with the LPGA,” said Tim Chaney, vice president of marketing communications, Kia Motors America. “We’re very proud to recognize and honor the best golfers in the world for their efforts and achievements this season.”
For the last four years, the Kia Drive to the Top award has been presented to the player with the most top-10 finishes of the season. This season, Lydia Ko lapped the field with 16 top-10s to earn a new Kia Sorento.
In her sophomore season on Tour, Ko has amassed an impressive 16 top-10 finishes in her 23 tournaments. The New Zealander has five wins in 2015 giving her 10 for her career and making her the youngest player in golf history to reach 10 victories. Additionally, heading into the season’s final event, Ko leads the standings for the Vare Trophy, Official Money List Title and Rolex Player of the Year as well as the Race to the CME Globe where she will look to take home the $1 million first prize for the second consecutive year.
“Playing consistently throughout the year was my biggest goal coming into this season,” Ko said. “I’m so grateful to receive this award from Kia and share it with my whole team who have put in so much time and effort to help me along the way.”
Joanna Klatten won this year’s honors for the Kia Power Drive for frequently turning the teeing ground into a launching pad, smashing drives on average of 274.420 yards on the season, over five yards longer than her nearest competitor. In just her second year on Tour, Klatten has quickly become known as one of the Tour’s longest players as she finished third in driving distance last season prior to winning the crown this season and taking home a brand new Kia Sorento.
“I’m so excited about winning this award and new Kia,” Klatten said. “It’s a huge honor for me to be recognized by the LPGA and Kia for being the longest driver as driving is something that I’ve worked very hard on in the gym for the past few years.”
A pair of clutch hole outs won not only a golf tournament but also a brand new Kia Sorento for Sei Young Kim as she’s been honored with the Kia Most Compelling Performance of 2015. The award was voted on by the fans on LPGA.com and the LPGA’s official Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.
Kim holed out her second shot, an 8-iron from 154 yards, on the first playoff hole to defeat Inbee Park and claim her second-career LPGA victory at the LOTTE Championship Presented by HERSHEY.
Playing first, Kim sent her ball skyward and it took two hops before nestling in the bottom of the cup. Kim seemed to be in disbelief before finally throwing her hands in the air and high fiving her caddie. When Park was unable to match the feat, Kim got to take a champion’s walk to 18 to retrieve her ball from the bottom of the cup.
Kim got into the playoff with a little bit of magic when, after finding the water with her drive on the 18th in regulation, she got up-and-down for par thanks to a chip-in from 18 feet.
“It’s amazing to win the Kia Most Compelling Performance,” said Kim. “There were so many other amazing shots and moments so I’m very thankful for the fan for voting for me and for Kia for their generous support of us and the LPGA.”
Other nominees in the Kia Most Compelling Performance category included Gerina Piller’s clutch Solheim Cup putt to help Team USA complete the largest comeback in Solheim Cup history, Inbee Park’s third consecutive KPMG Women’s PGA Title, Cristie Kerr’s late charge to victory at the Kia Classic and the debut wins for Chella Choi, Minjee Lee and Kris Tamulis.
While I.K. Kim has delivered many memorable moments throughout her career on the golf course, it’s her work off of it that will be her lasting legacy. Kim is this year’s winner of the Kia Community Assist Award, which is given to the player that makes exceptional contributions to charity organizations and community programs, for her exemplary work promoting and raising funds for the Special Olympics.
“It is a great honor to win this year’s Kia Community Assist Award, and I accept it on behalf of everyone who contributes time and energy to Special Olympics,” Kim said.
Kim, who has been the Special Olympics’ Ambassador for Golf since 2012, hosts clinics throughout the year and around the world for Special Olympics through the Sports Resource Team for Golf as well as through her participation in the Special Olympics Regional and World Games. Additionally, the three-time LPGA winner donated more than $100,000, which was half of her winnings from the 2010 Lorena Ochoa Invitational, to the Special Olympics. Kim vowed after the win to donate her entire first-place check of $225,000 to charity, with half going to the Lorena Ochoa Foundation and the other half to Special Olympics.