Haeji Kang is one of a growing number of Koreans
who has moved from her home country as a young girl to train
overseas. In her case, she first moved to New Zealand, where
she lived for three years, before relocating to the Gold Coast
in Australia. She attends the same high school as Amy Yang,
the superstar who won the ANZ Ladies Masters in 2006. She
is one year younger than Yang.
Kang has quickly built up an impressive resume
of achievements. In 2007, she won the Australian Girls' Championship,
and finished as the runner up at the Senior Amateur to another
Korean amateur star, Helen Oh. The organizers of the ANZ Ladies
Masters decided she deserved a chance to play there in early
2007, much like Yang had the previous year. Kang made the
cut and finished tied for 40th, the low amateur in the field.
In November, Haeji played in the Futures Tour
Q-School, where she finished tied for 12th. Thus, she turned
professional. In 2008, she finished tied for 14th at the ANZ
Ladies Masters, a good omen in preparation for her move to
In 2008, she played the Futures Tour, where
she made over $30,000 and finished just outside of the top
ten on the money list. This is important, since a new rule
change made it so the top ten players on tour received cards
for the LPGA. She had six top tens, including her first professional
win in Richmond, Virginia, in August.
In late 2008, Haeji Kang participated in the
2008 LPGA Qualifying School. She finished tied for 29th to
earn category 16 status on tour in 2009.
Haeji had an OK rookie season despite her
low status on tour, highlighted by a great performance at
the Wegman's, where she shot her career low round and finished
tied for fourth. This top ten and a few other good weeks were
enough to earn Kang a full exemption for the 2010 season.
In 2010, she made the most money of her career,
finishing 59th on the money list to keep her card. She had
one top ten, at the Sybase Match Play. Her best finish in
the 2011 season was 14th; she finished 77th on the money list
that year, keeping full status for 2012.
Haeji improved enormously in 2012. It was
in fact by far her best season yet. She finished 29th on the
money list with over $400,000 in earnings and four top tens.
She had her first top 20 in a Major at the Nabisco, and her
career best finish of third at the Navistar. Her scoring average
was also her best by a lot. With her 2012 season results,
Haeji Kang has put herself on the radar as an up and comer
for the first time.