Amazing Grace celebrates maiden pro win, Smith and Herbert top Aussies at US PGA: Aussies on Tour

Grace Kim

Aussies on Tour is a regular wrap of how Australia’s top men and women golfers are performing on the world’s golf tours, with information provided by Golf Australia, the PGA of Australia and the WPGA. This edition was written by Martin Blake from Golf Australia.

It has taken Sydney’s Grace Kim just six starts to earn her first win on the Epson Tour as she eyes promotion to the LPGA Tour.

Tied for the lead through two rounds, Kim used an eagle from 16 feet at the par-5 16th to clinch a five-stroke victory with a three-round total of 18-under at the IOA Golf Classic in Florida.

Kim went 66-65-64 to relegate fellow Australian Sarah Jane Smith (68) to second spot with Robyn Choi (67) rounding out an excellent tournament for the Aussies in a share of fourth. 

With her father Kevin on the bag, Kim dropped a shot at the par-3 second but bounced back quickly with birdies at three, five and six to edge clear.

A prolific winner as an amateur and a two-time winner on the Women’s All Pro Tour prior to turning professional last year, Kim kept the hammer down, allowing herself a brief moment to exhale when she made eagle at the 16th.

She closed in style with a sixth birdie at the par-3 18th to further emphasise her status as a star of the future.

“I did not expect a win this early in my career,” conceded Kim.

“To have an Epson event as my first professional career win is quite special and to have Dad on the bag is that little bit extra on top.

“This is a good start. I think he’s going to stay on the bag for a little bit,” added Kim following her father’s arrival from Sydney on Monday.

A member of the Golf Australia Rookie Squad, Kim’s previous best finish prior to this week was a tie for 17th at the Copper Rock Championship.

She and coach Khan Pullen had spoken recently with regards to the need to stay patient as she elevates her game into more elite professional company.

It was advice that proved prudent as Kim moved from 75th to seventh in the Race To The Card, the top 10 at season’s end to earn direct promotion to the LPGA Tour in 2023.

It was very nearly cause for a double celebration among the Aussie girls this week after Perth’s Whitney Hillier missed out on a maiden Ladies European Tour title at the Jabra Ladies Open in France.

Out to a three-stroke lead early in the final round, Hillier shot 69 in the final round to finish tied with Tiia Koivisto at the end of 54 holes, Koivisto’s birdie at the first playoff hole denying Hillier the victory.

Brad Kennedy missed the three-man playoff at the Golf Partner Pro-Am Tournament by a single stroke as he settled for a share of fourth while Cameron Smith and Lucas Herbert were the top Aussies at the US PGA Championship, the pair finishing tied for 13th as Justin Thomas bested Will Zalatoris in the playoff.


Epson Tour
IOA Golf Classic
Alaqua Country Club, Longwood, Florida
Winner    Grace Kim    66-65-64—195    $US30,000
T2    Sarah Jane Smith    66-66-68—200    $16,514
T4    Robyn Choi    68-66-67—201    $9,773
T15    Hira Naveed    66-71-69—206    $2,967
T24    Karis Davidson    70-68-70—208    $2,133
T28    Soo Jin Lee    67-71-71—209    $1,756
T35    Gabriela Ruffels    70-69-71—210    $1,299
T63    Amelia Garvey    71-70-76—217    $672
MC    Stephanie Na    73-72—145
MC    Julienne Soo    73-75—148

US PGA Championship
Southern Hills Country Club, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Winner    Justin Thomas    67-67-74-67—275    $US2.7m
Won in three-hole aggregate playoff
T13    Cameron Smith    68-70-73-69—280    $291,250
T13    Lucas Herbert    68-73-68-71—280    $291,250
T34    Marc Leishman    72-71-73-68—284    $71,250
T48    Cam Davis    72-72-72-70—286    $35,000
54    Ryan Fox    70-70-70-77—287    $29,250
T55    Jason Day    71-72-72-73—288    $28,750
MC    Min Woo Lee    73-72—145
MC    Adam Scott    77-70—147
MC    Matt Jones    73-77—150

Korn Ferry Tour
Advent Health Championship
Blue Hills Country Club, Kansas City, Missouri
Winner    Trevor Cone    65-67-70-70—272    $US135,000
T38    Nick Voke    70-71-73-71—285    $3,878
MC    Rhein Gibson    75-71—146
MC    Brett Drewitt    73-77—150

Challenge Tour
Challenge de Espana
Iberostar Real Club de Golf Novo Sancti Petri, Cadiz, Spain
Winner    Jens Dantorp    74-71-67-66—278    €40,000
T53    Josh Geary    71-76-72-76—295    €925
T53    Dimitrios Papadatos    75-76-74-70—295    €925
T58    Daniel Hillier    73-77-73-74—297    €812.50
MC    Jarryd Felton    77-75—152
MC    Blake Windred    78-74—152
MC    Deyen Lawson    73-80—153

Ladies European Tour
Jabra Ladies Open
Evian Resort Golf Club, Évian-les-Bains, France
Winner    Tiia Koivisto    72-69-66—207    €37,500
Won on first hole of sudden-death playoff
2    Whitney Hillier    67-71-69—207    €22,500
MC    Amy Walsh    84-71—155

Japan Golf Tour
Golf Partner Pro-Am Tournament
Toride Kokusai Golf Club, Tsukubamirai, Japan
Winner    Shugo Imahira    65-67-61-65—258    ¥10m
Won on second hole of sudden-death playoff
T4    Brad Kennedy    61-63-69-66—259    ¥2.2m
T16    Anthony Quayle    66-68-67-64—265    ¥737,500
T22    Brendan Jones    70-63-69-65—267    ¥447,500
T37    Andrew Evans    68-66-68-68—270    ¥245,000
MC    David Bransdon    68-71—139
MC    Adam Bland    68-71—139
MC    Dylan Perry    69-70—139
MC    Matthew Griffin    69-70—139
MC    Michael Hendry    72-70—142

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