There was no amount of jet lag that could slow down Christina Kim on Friday at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. In fact, despite making a 30 hour trip from outside Malaga, Spain where she was providing commentary coverage of the Solheim Cup on Sky Sports, to this week’s event in Arkansas, Kim says she didn’t feel any jet lag at all. Her solution to battling the time zones? Just live your life as you normally would.
Well, Kim certainly lived it up on Friday as she carded an opening round six-under par 65, going out in 32 with back-to-back birdies to kickstart her round, in which she hit every fairway and missed only a single green. The LPGA Tour veteran joins a pack of players atop the leaderboard at the 54-hole event at Pinnacle Country Club.
“Start above ground, hit it on the ground, finish on the ground,” Kim said when describing her opening round. “As quickly as you can. That's about it.”
On a hot and humid day, the LPGA Tour veteran’s stellar round is her lowest of the 2023 season. And although Kim didn’t actually compete in this year's Solheim Cup, it was as though the experience was a springboard to the three-time member of the U.S. Team to her early success in Arkansas where after her round she spoke passionately about how impressed she was with both the U.S. and European Teams who ultimately ended their match in a tie.
“I was inspired. There is no question about it,” Kim told Golf Channel after her round on Friday. “It's inspiring to watch great golf whether it's male or female. And to see those women out there, those 24 players that just really played with their hearts on their sleeves there representing their country, representing their continent.”
Kim will need to continue to draw on that inspiration as she moves into the latter part of the season as she enters the final three full-field events of the year with plenty to play for.
Currently, Kim is ranked No. 163 in the Race to the CME Globe point standings. The top 60 in the standings will advance to the CME Group Tour Championship, where Kim last competed in 2020. Also, the top 100 in the standings will secure their status on the LPGA Tour for the upcoming season. In 2022, Kim finished the season at No. 168 in the standings and was unable to maintain her status for 2023.
“All you can do is what you can do. I can go out there and have a great day and get lapped by everybody and I may not end up moving,” Kim said about her current position in the season-long points standings. “So all I can do is what I can do and go out there and enjoy myself.”
Since the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship began in 2007, Kim has missed only one playing of the event and her round of 65 on Friday is her lowest round at Pinnacle Country Club.