Kim Sei-young shuts door on LPGA’s Rookie of the Year race

November 9, 2015
Kim Sei-young of South Korea pumps her fist in the air after winning the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic at the Ocean Club Golf Course, in Paradise Island, Bahamas, Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015. (AP Photo/Tim Aylen)

Kim Sei-young of South Korea pumps her fist in the air after winning the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic at the Ocean Club Golf Course, in Paradise Island, Bahamas, Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015. (AP Photo/Tim Aylen)

By Brian Han

South Korea’s Kim Sei-young had one goal in mind when she started her first season on the LPGA Tour — win three tournaments.

Sure enough, the 22-year-old did just that last week when she took home the Blue Bay LPGA trophy in China where she won by a single stroke in the toughest conditions of the year.

A week later, the LPGA announced that her performance earned her the Louise Suggs Rookie of the Year award.

The tour determines the recipient based on a point system so even though the 2015 season still has a few events left, Kim’s performance thus far provided enough to clinch the award over fellow countrywoman Kim Hyo-joo who had a handful of notable events including a win back in March at the JTBC Classic.

Kim Sei-young also racked up seven top-10 finishes in addition to her wins. With her consistently strong play, she has moved into the world No. 7 spot.

She is also fourth on the 2015 money list with $1,727,436 behind Lydia Ko, Park Inbee and Stacy Lewis.

“I am humbled, honored and at the same time excited to claim this prestigious award,” Kim told LPGA.com. “This is the best award to win. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and it’s great to have won it against the strong 2015 rookie class. My main goal coming into this season was to make a positive impact on the LPGA and improve my Rolex Ranking. Winning the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year is definitely a dream come true, a special surprise and bonus for me!”

Perhaps Kim’s most memorable moment of the year, she needed something miraculous to happen on the final hole at the LOTTE Championship in Hawaii. She chipped in from just off the green to force a playoff with seasoned veteran Park Inbee.

Moments later during the playoff between the two players, Kim slammed the door shut when she holed out a 154-yard eight-iron in windy conditions for an eagle and a victory.

There are two events left in the season. The Lorena Ochoa Invitational held in Mexico where Korean American Christina Kim will defend her title, and then the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Fl.

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