When she pulls into Aviara Golf Club off Batiquitos Drive, amazing memories flood the mind of Eun-Hee Ji. It’s her reality of happy trails as she finds her way back to Carlsbad, Calif., for the Kia Classic, an event she won in 2018.
“I’m really, really happy to be back here,” said Ji. “I won this tournament and when I come here, I always have good memories, you know, happy things about it. I’m really, really happy about this [having the Kia Classic back on the LPGA Tour schedule].”
There’s good reason for Ji to be happy. She not only won the event and took home a Kia Stinger, but she also aced the par-3 14th during the final round to cement her victory and win a Kia Sorrento. Quite the haul for the past champion.
A repeat of that week from 2018 would be a welcome sight in the LPGA Tour’s return to San Diego County in 2021, as Ji prepares for what she deems a tough track that challenges her game to the fullest.
“This course is actually really hard for me. Maybe I just focus more and practice harder and practice my putting more. So maybe that’s why I play better when I come here,” Ji said with a laugh.
That putting practice might just be the key to finding the winner’s circle again and becoming the first two-time champion in Kia Classic tournament history because, as Ji puts it, “especially have to good read for putting. Greens are pretty quick and there is a lot of slopes, so I have to really focus on reading the green and [maintaining] good pace. I always focus on the putting green [for this tournament week].”