Young Kim turned pro in 1998 at the age of
18. She played on the KLPGA for five years, winning twice.
She played on the Futures Tour in 2001, winning once. In 2002
she excelled on the KLPGA, finishing fifth on the money list.
At the 2002 LPGA Q-School she was the top Korean finisher,
with a tie for 4th to earn exempt status for 2003. She then
signed a new contract with sponsor Shinsegae.
2003 was a solid year for her. She finished
9th in her first LPGA event, the Welch's/Fry's Championship.
She only played two Majors in 2003, and got top tens in both:
tied for 6th at the LPGA Championship and tied for 9th at
the British Open. Late in the year she returned to Korea and
won two KLPGA events there.
Young Kim finished the year 44th on the LPGA
money list, easily retaining her exempt status. She also finished
second in the Rookie of the Year race, ahead of such well
known players as Suzann Pettersen, Christina Kim, Raquel Carriedo
and Paula Marti.
In 2004, Young Kim had another solid but unspectacular
year. She finished 44th on the money list for the second year
in a row, notched 3 top tens, and finished in the top 30 in
three of the four Majors she played.
In 2005 she improved significantly. For the
first time, she finished within the top 30 on the money list,
and had her best ever career finish, a third place finish
at the British Open. She had six total top tens, and challenged
for the title of the Mizuno Classic, which she led the first
two days. She finished about at the same spot on the 2006
money list, and accumulated five more top tens.
Young had a great week at the Lexus Cup. She
won all three of her matches and was one of the most valuable
players on the team, instrumental in leading Asia to its first
win. A month later, she teamed with Ji Yai Shin to power Korea
to a third place finish at the 2007 Women's World Cup.
Despite that strong start, 2007 turned out
to be a strange year for Young. For one, she lost her longtime
sponsor Shinsegae. She also did not play all that well in
the Majors, failing to make even a single top 20 all year.
However, she also had a great run of golf starting in May
that culminated in her long awaited first win on tour at the
Corning Classic. She did not have a top ten after that, however,
the rest of the year.
In 2008, her play continued to be spotty.
She did have one great tournament in Florida where she finished
tied for third, but only collected 2 top tens total all year.
She had more struggles in 2009. She managed to maintain full
status on tour, but finished no higher than 19th in any event.
Partly because of that, and partly because of the smaller
schedule on the LPGA, Kim decided to enter the Japanese LPGA's
Q-School that fall. She ended up winning Q-School to gain
full membership on that tour.
Interestingly, she decided to entirely focus
on the Japanese tour for 2010. Although she did not have the
kind of success fellow rookies Inbee Park and Sun Ju Ahn had,
it was a decent year for Young. She finished 15th on the money
list, had a second place, two thirds, and 8 total top tens.
It was not a sterling performance, but showed promise that
she could become a power on that tour in the coming years.
Young's 2011 season was not as strong as 2010
had been. She finished 34th on the money list, while in 2012,
she finished 35th . She did not win either of those seasons.
Kim finally broke through with her first JLPGA
win in 2013. That win came at the Nichi-Iko Women's Open in
July; it was the first win for a Korean on that tour since
mid-April. Despite the win, she finished slightly worse on
the money list than in her previous years. She was 40th, with
nearly 25 million yen earned.