In 2015, Sei Young Kim stepped up to the first playoff hole at the LOTTE Championship against Inbee Park. A rookie at the time, Kim landed an impressive walk-off eagle 154 yards out to the bottom of the cup to claim her second-career victory on Tour. It was mere weeks after winning at the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic, where she had become a Rolex First-Time Winner. Along with the rest of the golfing world, even Park was impressed with the young star’s shot on the extra hole.
“She said two things – how did you get that in, and congratulations,” said Kim in 2015 of her conversation after with Park.
Fast forward to 2021, Kim has grown into a golfing superstar in her own right, winning a total of 12 times and becoming a major champion at the 2020 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. She would earn the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year honors later on in 2015, and after two wins in 2020, she’d become the Rolex Player of the Year. To Kim, the time has flown by since she her victory in Hawaii, but it’s a memory she still will never forget.
“In 2015 I was a rookie years; everything is very new for me,” said Kim. “I was young and now feel like time goes by so fast. Yeah, but my mind is the same as at the time, because, yeah, I want to -- yeah, I don't want to be like cocky. No, I think, yeah, just enjoy.”
As much as reflecting on past positive experiences feels good on the inside, this week, along with most of the competition at the LOTTE Championship, Kim takes on Kapolei Golf Club for the first time. She said her key to doing well this week will be to take advantage of the course’s par-5s. “I think par-5 is big different, because Ko Olina golf course, even if you miss the wrong side you have -- you got the easy chip,” said Kim. “But Kapolei, it's not easy. So I was practice like 30 meter or 40 meter. I think even for -- even for 30, 40 meter you need the chipping with like hybrid and pitching wedge. You need a lot of skill, especially this course.”