Updated: Feb, 2014

SONG HEE KIM

The Facts

Birthday: July 16, 1988
Rookie Year on LPGA: 2007
Birthplace: Seoul, South Korea
Best LPGA Finish: 2nd (4 times)
Best LPGA Major Finish: 2nd (2010 LPGA Championship)
Best score: 62 (2009 CN Canadian Women's Open)
Best Scoring Average for a year: 70.21 (2010)
Best Season money total: $1,208,698 (2010)
Best Season Money Position: 8th (2010)
Most Top Tens/Season: 15 (2010)

Rookie of the Year Finish: Well back

Height: 5' 9"
2014 LPGA Status: None
Nicknames: None known
Sponsors: Fila Korea
How's her English?: Learning
Hobbies: Unknown
Road to the LPGA: Earned exempt status by finishing first on 2006 Futures Tour money list

Capsule Bio

While a teen, Song Hee Kim was one of the top amateurs in Korea. She was a member of the national team in 2004 and 2005, and occasionally played KLPGA events as well. She spent the summer of 2005 in America working on her game at a golf school in South Carolina.

In late 2005, she decided to play the Futures Tour Qualifying tournament as an amateur. Her results were staggering. She dominated the tournament, eventually beating American Brittany Lang by five shots (and that was only after Lang had made a run to close the gap). So she clearly had shown she could play with the girls on tour, but there was one problem: being that she was only 17, she could not play as a professional there (the age limit on tour was 18). So she petitioned the tour to make an exception in her case. The tour was so impressed with her talent, poise and potential that they not only allowed her to play as a full member in 2006, they lowered the age limit to 17 for all times. That allowed two other 17 year olds with Korean blood, Angela Park and In-Bee Park, to also join the tour in 2006. All three would go on to have great seasons.

But Song Hee proved very quickly to be in a class by herself. She finished 8th in her first event as a pro, then 3rd at the next one. In her third event, the Louisiana Futures Classic, she made history. She won the event, and thus became the youngest professional woman to ever win a professional golf event in the United States. But she was just getting started.

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Video: Na Yeon Choi & Kim at Sea World

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Just three events later, at the IOS Futures Golf Classic in El Paso, Texas, Song Hee outlasted Angela Park in regulation, then found herself involved in an epic playoff with Sarah Huarte for the title. The playoff dragged on for nine grueling holes before Kim was finally able to put Huarte away to claim her second title in six starts. She finally found the will to win, she said later, because of fear that the event might be postponed until Monday due to darkness. She was planning to fly home to see her mom, and would have had to miss her plane had that happened. With her second win, she climbed to the top of the tour money list.

Two weeks later, she returned, played the Aurora Health Care Championship as her first event back... and won again. She added a fourth victory in July at the Cigna Chip in for a Cure in Connecticut. She collected the trophy on July 16th, her 18th birthday. She was greeted on the 18th green with birthday wishes and flowers, which caused the shy champion to blush.

Song Hee won the Gettysburg Championship in late August for a fifth win on tour, tying Grace Park for most wins in a single season. She was not quite able to top the all time money earned for a season, set by Beth Bauer a few years earlier, but she came close. She wound up Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year on the Futures Tour, and earned her LPGA exempt status for 2007.

Unfortunately, Song Hee's rookie season (2007) proved to be a struggle from beginning to end. Instead of contending for or even winning Rookie of the Year, she found it hard to make cuts, and did not even manage a top 20 finish all year. She did secure a non-exempt card, but had to go to Q-School to try to get her exempt status back. She was beaten badly by both In-Bee Park and Angela Park on the LPGA, two players she had dominated on the Futures Tour.

In 2008, Song Hee started the season with conditional status, but it did not take her long to start showing the kind of talent everyone had expected from her in her rookie year. After missing the cut in her first event, she shot her career best score, a 64, at the next tournament, and finished tied for 15th, her best finish to date. Just a couple of months later, she put herself into contention to win in Mexico, eventually finishing second. She followed that with a tie for fifth at the Ginn Open the next week. The player who had not managed even one top ten her rookie year was suddenly on fire.

Kim continued to play well most of the season. She had another great chance to win at the Navistar Classic, but fell a bit short on Sunday and finished 4th. The next week, in the elite field at the Samsung, she was in contention right until the final hole, finishing second to Paula Creamer.

In the end, she made nearly a million dollars in 2008, reestablishing herself decisively as one of the top young players in the game. Her money total was more than ten times what she had made in 2007.

Song Hee continued her ascendance in 2009. Once again, she failed to win a tournament, but she made more than a million bucks all the same, and finished just outside the top ten on the money list. Her stats were very impressive all around: 12 top tens, top 12 finishes in 3 of the 4 Majors, with a 21st in the other (all those finishes beat her previous best Major result). Her scoring average of 70.52 was 8th best in the league. By the end of the year, especially with Na Yeon Choi claiming two wins, Kim could legitimately be called the best player on tour yet to win.

Kim's 2010 season was yet more brilliant still. She topped her all time money total with over $1.2 million earned, but it was her consistency that was most astonishing. She started the year with 8 straight top tens and tallied 15 in all, tied for the most on tour in 2010. She had top 20s in all four Majors, with a third at the Nabisco and a second at the LPGA Championship. She led the league in scoring average most of the year, and wound up with her career best, a 70.21. She also had her first top ten on the money list, an 8th place. She only once finished outside the top 22 in 22 tournaments.

But for all her greatness, Kim still was unable to notch a win. Her second place at the LPGA Championship sounds impressive, but she lost by 12 shots to Cristie Kerr. She lost a playoff at the Jamie Farr to Na Yeon Choi, and ran up against Choi again at the Hana Bank Championship in Korea. Despite leading that event for two days, Kim again faltered on Sunday and Choi won. If there were any doubt before, there isn't now: Kim is clearly the best player on tour without a win.

After several great seasons, 2011 was a bit of a step backwards for Kim. Not only did she not breakthrough with her long awaited win, she rarely even had a good shot at a win all year. After 15 top tens in 2010, she could only muster 2 in 2011, and did not have even a single top ten in any Major. Her best performance by far came at the Avnet Classic. She was in perfect position to win there on Sunday, but Maria Hjorth came from two shots behind her to take the crown. Kim had to settle for another second place finish, her fourth.

Kim wound up 33rd on the money list, her second worst performance since joining the tour.

2012 was an even worse year, but much of it stemmed from a neck injury that sidelined her the second half of the season. She only made 2 cuts all year and finished no higher than 33rd. In 2013, she played 10 LPGA tournaments, but only made the cut twice and earned just $11,000. She wound up losing her card, and the rumor is that she will try her luck on the KLPGA in 2014.

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