In her fourth event as a professional, Gina Kim will play the weekend for the first time in her short career. The rookie has posted two solid rounds at the Cognizant Founders Cup, shooting 68 and 69 to not only make the cut, but put herself in contention ahead of Moving Day in a tie for ninth at -7. The key for the 22-year-old these past two days has been her consistent ball striking, as Kim hit 13 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens on Friday.
“I felt like I played pretty stable. My shots were great. I put myself in the right positions,” said Kim, who carded four birdies and a lone bogey on No. 8 in her Friday round. “I didn't make as many putts as I would like to, but, overall, it was really consistent. I'm looking forward to finally making the weekend to see how many more birdies I can get out there.”
It has been a busy couple of weeks for Kim, who graduated from Duke the Sunday before tournament play began. Before that, she was in a 4-for-2 playoff at her U.S. Women’s Open qualifier that followed her appearance in the Palos Verdes Championship as a sponsor invite, ultimately earning the second alternate spot. With no time to reflect on the many emotions of the past few weeks, Kim is trying to stay focused on the days ahead.
“I'm so excited. Honestly, I wasn't sure if I was going to make it into this tournament at first. I was one of the last people to get in,” she said. “Being able to get to the weekend and hopefully play with some of my idols, it just feels amazing, surreal.”
As the first reshuffle of the 2022 season looms following the conclusion of the Founders Cup, Kim currently sits at No. 170 on the LPGA Tour’s Priority List, which determines the order players are accepted into Tour events. Her performance this weekend could move her up the list based on the Race to the CME Globe points she receives, giving Kim exemptions to more tournaments on the schedule. While that may put more pressure on her game, Kim is pushing it to the back of her mind with 36 holes left to play.
“I'm going to keep trying to stick with my game plan because it's working, obviously,” she said. “If I happen to get reshuffled, great. If not, that's still fine. I think I'm making some great improvement even without the reshuffle. Hopefully I can boost myself up, but that's not the main priority here.”