In 2013, two-time LPGA winner Jimin Kang was diagnosed with taking too much allergy medication, wrecking her immune system and forcing her to back off from the game in 2014.
She played two LPGA events in 2015, before taking three years off and returning to make a start in 2018. She missed the cut in all five of her 2018 starts.
Determined, Kang caught up with LPGA Hall of Famer Se Ri Pak last winter, and made a declaration to Pak.
“I’m going to play golf again.”
Pak responded, “Didn’t you play enough?”
Kang answered, “Not yet. I don’t feel like I’ve done enough yet. I feel like I still have it in there, somewhere.”
Kang discovered that somewhere this week, sitting at (-1) for the tournament through 36 holes. It’s her first made cut since the Wegman’s LPGA Championship in 2014, the last year of this tournament before KPMG became the title sponsor.
After becoming a Class A teaching professional over the winter, she’s the leading club professional at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
She’s hitting the ball well, averaging 243 yards this week off the tee at the age of 39. She turned in a bogey free (-2) in the second round.
“I just start figuring out how to hit a golf club, it’s been awhile,” Kang described her game afterwards.
She found a feeling this week that she’s been chasing since working on her LPGA return.
“When you know that you’re aiming, and you have some kind of feeling that it’s going where you’re aiming, it feels good.”
She exclaimed “Yes!” when Kang found out it was her first made cut since 2014. It’s a step in the right direction towards her overall goal.
“I’m trying to get my job back. Teaching, I can do when I cannot play. But while I can play, I like to play, see how it goes.”
For now, she teaches her friends for free on the side. She’s still focused on playing well for the rest of the week, but her first inclination was to grab a bite to eat with her family after the round, who is supporting her as she chases down her dream of returning to the LPGA Tour.
“I’m just very grateful, thankful for their support, and glad to catchup while they’re here.
Kang will stay in a priceless moment for her with two more rounds this weekend, continuing to prove that she still has her game somewhere.