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