As she walked away from her post-round interview, Christina Kim threw one more quip back over her shoulder, “You know what they say, a fat kid finds a cookie on the floor every once in a while.” For Kim, that proverbial cookie is a spot near the top of the leaderboard heading into the weekend at the Pelican Women’s Championship presented by Konica Minolta and Raymond James following scores of 65-66 on Thursday and Friday. Getting into the field on a sponsor’s exemption is one thing while capitalizing on it is another. And Kim, per usual, is just happy to be in this position again.
“I'm truly elated. I'm at a loss for words,” she said after carding six birdies and two bogeys in round two. “Dan Doyle, everyone here at Pelican Golf Club, everyone with DEX Imaging, Konica Minolta, the fact that they were willing to give me a chance, especially with everything that's on the line this week, it really means so much to me that they were willing to believe in me and give me an opportunity to come out here and retain my card. And now thinking about trying to lift that trophy. It feels amazing. It's a phenomenal field, and it’s cool that an Old Betty like me can still occasionally just whack it around and find the bottom of the cup every now and again.”
The 2021 season has been “interesting” says the 37-year-old of her competitive year. She had missed 10 cuts in 19 starts ahead of the week at Pelican Golf Club and currently sits on the bubble to retain her LPGA Tour status for next year. It’s a lot for any pro, no matter rookie or veteran, to handle and despite her cheery disposition and propensity for looking on the bright side, Kim can’t lie about feeling the pressure.
“I practiced really, really hard the last three weeks prior to the field being set being hyper-stressed,” she said. “So once Monday came around and I got the phone call saying I got the invite, it was just the biggest sigh of relief. Turns out I'm a bit of a control freak so not being in control of my own destiny, I’m not a big fan of that. Once I knew I could control my own destiny I was able to just focus on getting the job done. It's such a treat to be able to be here playing and being in Florida. And getting to play such an amazing golf course like the Pelican Golf Club, there is no reason to be stressed because it's an amazing property. You get to write your own history.”
But the sense of gratitude that Kim feels for her position in life is unwavering. During her time off the course, she’s been able to venture into golf broadcasting, a role that suits her off-the-cuff personally quite well. No matter what happens over the weekend, still having a place in the game whether it’s competing on the course or mic’d up in studio is something that Kim is thankful for, though she’s confident the sun hasn’t set on her playing career just yet.
“You only get one shot at life, and I have been through a lot in my life and have been on the other end of it where I've wallowed in my own misery and ultimately got in my own way,” Kim said. “So if this ends up being the last tournament of my season, then great. I may as well enjoy it, and instead of thinking of a miss-hit shot, I'm now just allowing myself to have a new opportunity to have a sick up and down. This is my passion. This is my love. My entire life is golf. I'll stop when it's time. I'm damn nowhere near close to that yet.”