If there’s one thing In-Kyung Kim would like to do more, it would be to celebrate.
Especially this week.
Tuesday, the defending champion of the Marathon Classic presented by Owens Corning and O-I returned to Highland Meadows Golf Club where she won her second of three titles in 2017. She arrives in Toledo after spending the week in Seattle where she attended the Special Olympics USA Games, a program to which Kim is an ambassador. Spending time with the athletes taught her an important lesson she’s eager to put into practice this week.
“I just got to celebrate more often,” Kim said she realized from watching the athletes. “Their joy, seeing them so happy really inspired me. It’s just some kind of connection that I feel like myself when I go there.”
Kim’s involvement with the Special Olympics provides her an escape from her life on Tour. She’s also sought the help of life coaches and practiced meditation to help her cope with the challenges that come with playing golf at the highest level. Fittingly, Tuesday’s women’s summit at the Marathon Classic was focused on meditation and mindfulness. Kim planned to attend the summit, which featured author Mallika Chopra and broadcaster Hannah Storm. Kim also planned to speak about what she’s learned in her own life.
“Golf taught me a lot of things - meditation, eating healthy, sleeping, resting and recovery,” Kim said about the topics she hoped to touch on. “Hopefully, that will benefit them in a way so that they can live a healthier life. We all want to live healthier and happier life.”
Kim was disappointed in her first title defense of the season at the ShopRite LPGA Classic where she settled for T17. She was caught off guard by the feelings she had returning to New Jersey. But with that experience behind her, she now feels more comfortable in her role this week as defending champion.
“I felt the expectation and I wasn’t really expecting those feelings going back and playing the tournament,” Kim said about returning to ShopRite. “For some reason, because I’ve done it once, I feel a bit calmer this week.”
The defending champ returns to Toledo with plenty of positive energy. She’s coming off her third top 10 of the year after finishing T8 at the season’s third major, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. It was the first week she put new hybrids in her bag, which have her feeling good about her game.
“I feel like my game is in the right place where I don’t have to force myself to try too hard,” Kim explained. “I’m looking forward to the next few weeks.”
There could be a lot more to celebrate.