Updated: Jan, 2014

IN-KYUNG KIM

The Facts

Birthday: June 13, 1988
Rookie Year on LPGA: 2007
Birthplace: South Korea
American Home City: None
LPGA Wins: 3
Majors: 0 (Best finish: 2nd (twice))
Best score: 63 (2011 Honda LPGA Thailand)
Best Scoring Average for a year: 70.49 (2013)
Best Season money total: $1,238,396 (2009)
Best Season Money Position: 7th (2010, 2013)
Most Top Tens/Season: 12 (2010)

Rookie of the Year Finish: 2nd
Height: 5' 3"
2014 LPGA Status: Category 1
Nicknames: Kimmy, In, I.K., Inky
Sponsors: Hana Financial Group, Audi Korea, Special Olympics Ambassador
Hobbies: Reading, listening to music (like the Beatles), learning languages, playing guitar
How's her English?: Fluent
Road to the LPGA: Earned exempt status in 2007 by finishing tied for first at 2006 LPGA Q-School

Capsule Bio

In-Kyung Kim was virtually unknown in the States when she came over in the Spring of 2005 to play a few months worth of tournaments. But by the end of the summer, she was anything but unknown. In her first three Junior events played in the States, she had three wins. She then stunned the world by making her way through the ranks at the US Girls Junior until she wound up in the finals against In-Bee Park. Park had already finished first and second in this event in the past, and since this was the final year she would be eligible to play, she was intent on taking the title one more time. But Kim proved too much for Park right from the beginning, and the match turned into a rout, with Kim winning 5 and 4.

Kim also played the US Women's Amateur later in the summer, where she earned the medalist honors for low score in the preliminary portion. But she ran into a Korean Brazilian player named Angela Park in match play and lost to her in the quarterfinals (Park would go on to be Rookie of the Year on the LPGA year the same year as Kim joined, with Kim finishing second).

In-Kyung was more low key in 2006; her main focus was on preparing for Q-School in the Fall. She remained amateur just in case things didn't go well, but that turned out to be an unnecessary concern. She won the 2006 Futures Tour Q-School, then, a few weeks later, finished co-medalist at LPGA Q-School as well. She turned pro right after LPGA Q-School, and had full exempt status on tour in 2007.

In-Kyung's rookie year was a very good one. Although she never seriously challenged Angela Park for top rookie honors, she had four top tens, finished in the top forty on the money list to earn a two year exemption, and finished second in the Rookie of the Year standings. The highlight of her year came at the Rochester tournament midyear. She had a three shot lead over Lorena Ochoa with two holes to go, but Ochoa made eagle on the 17th hole, Kim made par, then Kim just missed a short par save on 18 for the win. She lost the playoff to Ochoa. Kim was so close to winning, but would have to wait until 2008 to try to collect her first trophy.

Galleries

2007 Photos
SS Exclusives
Photos
Seoul Sisters Pix
At the end of 2007, In-Kyung was one of the members of Team Asia at the Lexus Cup. She was, in fact, more than just a member: she teamed with Se Ri Pak to win both team matches, than won her singles match as well to go undefeated for the week. She also came up with the idea for everyone to paint slogans on their faces and arms, a bonding exercise that helped rally Asia to the victory.

If 2007 was a great start to her career, 2008 was a fantastic second act. She started the year in style with top tens in two of her first three events. She cooled off for a while after that, but returned with a vengeance at the US Women's Open, where she finished tied for third with Angela Park, her best ever Major finish. She also notched a top ten at the British Women's Open that season.

She got hot again in September, running off a string of great finishes that culminated in her first professional win at the Longs Drugs Challenge in October. With over $700,000 in earnings, her 2008 season was an unqualified success.

Inky's third season was even more impressive than her rookie effort. Early in the year, she notched a third place in Phoenix, and very nearly won the Michelob Ultra, faltering on the second to last hole and finishing second. She claimed her second career win shortly thereafter at the State Farm. She made two late clutch birdies to sneak past Korean legend Se Ri Pak for the one shot victory. Kim also contended at the US Women's Open, but came up short late Sunday to finish third for the second straight year.

Kim continued to have solid events much of the rest of the year, compiling ten top tens by the end of the season and earning over a million dollars on the year. She finished her year with a bang: after playing on the victorious Korean Kyoraku Cup team, she was invited to play the European Tour's Dubai Ladies Masters, and won that as well, holding off Michelle Wie in the final round for that win.

Kim continued her brilliance in 2010, her fourth year on tour. She collected 12 top tens that season, the most in her career. She also had top five finishes at three of the year's four Majors, including a tie for third at the British, her third career third place in a Major. Kim ended up with another million dollar season, and finished the year in the top ten on the Rolex Rankings to boot!

But a win eluded her until nearly the end of the year. At the Lorena Ochoa Invitational, she fired a brilliant 64 in the final round, amassing one of the most fantastic putting performances of her career. She caught and passed Norwegian star Suzann Pettersen for the win, her third. She then stunned the crowd by donating her entire first place check, over $200,000, to charity. It was one of the most touching charitable acts golf had ever seen.

Inky had another fantastic season in 2011. In fact, for the first half of the year, she was the very best Korean on tour. Her very first round of the year was also the best of her career, a 63 at the Honda Thailand tournament. She faded a little in the second half, but still had several great finishes in that span. Unfortunately, she was not able to win a tournament for the fourth straight year, but came close. Her best finish was a tie for 2nd place at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational, in defense of her title. She had 9 other top tens on the year as well. She finished in the top 12 in three of the four Majors, and made nearly $900,000 during the season. The US Women's Open was a near miss for her: she was in the final group and wound up playing nearly two full rounds on Sunday (they did not re-pair after she finished the third round). Alas, she did not play well on that day and faded to 12th place.

She also got a chance to see what her donation to Lorena's foundation meant to the kids in Guadalajara. They invited her back to the school in the Spring, and was presented with a guitar and a classroom that was named after her. As you can imagine, she was extremely touched by the gestures.

IK Kim's 2012 season was marred by undoubtedly the most infamous moment of her career, and perhaps the most notorious in all of Korean golf. She battled all week at the Kraft Nabisco, and on Sunday hovered near the lead much of the day. Finally, she made her move, draining a great birdie on the 17th hole to take the lead. She reached the final green in regulation, lagged her putt to within a foot, and only needed to make that tap-in to claim her first Major. Alas, unbelievably, she missed it. She went on to lose the playoff to fellow Korean Sun Young Yoo. Although she seemed to handle the disaster well, she never really recovered from it on the course in 2012.

Almost immediately after the Kraft, she suffered a wrist injury that knocked her out of action for a month, and hampered her much of the rest of the season. Despite all these setbacks, it was not a terrible year for Kim (though by her high standards it was quite weak). She notched five total top tens, achieved her highest ever Major finish (even if it should have been one place higher), and made over half a million dollars. She also was named Special Olympics Ambassador, and donated the other half of her Ochoa prize money to that charity.

2013 was another great year for 'Income' Kim. She made over a million dollars and finished 7th on the money list, tied with her best ever. She also achieved her best scoring average by a tiny bit. She made 9 top tens during the year. She had two great chances to end her winless drought, but came up short in both. At the Kia Classic, she wound up in a playoff with Spain's Beatriz Recari, but had to watch as Recari chipped in for birdie to win that title in Inky's adopted hometown of San Diego. Later in the year, she played brilliantly at the US Women's Open. She shot a 4 under par for the week, one of only three under par, but still couldn't make a dent in Inbee Park's lead and wound up second. With So Yeon Ryu finishing third three shots behind Inky, it was the first 1-2-3 Korean finish ever at that event.

Inky also finished fifth at the Canadian Women's Open, but could not catch teen phenom Lydia Ko; and started well at the Evian but had a bad final round to finish 19th. She also was in the hunt at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational, and had a lot of fans on her side, but shot a final round 75 to finish 7th.

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