Kim became notorious when, as an amateur, she shot a 62 at the U.S.
Girl's Amateur Championship, the lowest score ever shot at any USGA
event. She turned pro in early 2002. Competing on the Futures Tour,
she won one event and notched 12 top tens to finish second on the
money list and earn an exempt card for the LPGA in 2003.
went the extra mile to prepare for her rookie season - literally.
She and her parents drove to almost every tournament site before
the season, and she played at least one round of golf on the course
to become familiar with the layout. Some of those courses were under
a few inches of snow when she played there! The hope was that she
would have a leg up on her rookie competitors when she reached those
venues for the actual events.
2003, she made an immediate splash at her very first LPGA event.
She played in the final group on Sunday and had a chance to win,
but finished 4th. Though she got a bit burned out by the end of
the year, she went on to finish fourth in the Rookie of the Year
got noticed for more than her results, however. She quickly became
known as one of the true spitfires on tour. With her intense emotional
reactions and bright showy clothes, it was impossible to ignore
her, and she earned legions of fans everywhere she went.
proved to be a breakout season. She had a number of good results
early, including a top ten at the year's second Major. But her game
really kicked into gear towards the end of the season. At one point,
she had a stretch of three of four events where she led after the
first round. She started the State Farm Classic by tying the course
record, and would go on to lose to Cristie Kerr in an epic battle,
despite shooting the second best score in tournament history.
Christina won her first event when, at the Longs Drugs Challenge,
she held off the Hall of Famers Karrie Webb and Juli Inkster coming
down the stretch. It was a particularly poignant win for her, as
it came in Sacramento, only a few hours away from where she was
born and grew up.
got a chance late in the season to represent Korea at the Pinx Cup.
It was quite possible that she would become the first player of
Korean descent to play on the Solheim Cup when it takes place later
in 2005. She started the 2005 season in third place in Solheim points
for the American team.
did not start strongly for Christina, but things got progressively
better for her as the year went on. She played well enough throughout
the season to qualify for the Solheim Cup team, and did a fantastic
job playing for America during the Cup in September. Not only did
she win numerous points for the team, but her relentless cheerleading
made her the fan favorite of the week, and she ended up appearing
on many golf magazine covers afterwards.
parlayed this success into her second career win, when she captured
the Tournament of Champions in November. This moved her into the
top twenty on the money list for the second straight year.
the winter of 2005-06, Christina undertook her first ever massive
physical training program. She lost over 30 pounds, and was in fantastic
physical shape to start the 2006 season. She changed other things
as well: her father was no longer her caddie for the most part,
and she no longer wore her trademark beret, trading it in for a
bandana (and even that she didn't wear all the time).
her new condition did not translate into better performance. In
fact, 2006 turned out to be her least impressive season since her
rookie year. It was not a terrible year, however: she still had
three top tens and finished 35th on the money list.
2007, she started the season slowly, but by the middle of the year
was again contending for titles. She played particularly well at
the Safeway Classic; although Lorena Ochoa ran away with the title,
Kim managed a tie for second, her best finish in some time. It was
not enough, however, for Solheim Captain Betsy King to pick her
for the team, a crushing blow considering how integral a part of
the team she had been in 2005.
has had some off course highlights as well. She signed sponsorship
deals with several companies, including LIJA, a Canadian apparel
company; Keri Golf, a golf bag company who will allow Christina
to have input in the bags she uses on course; and Yes! Putters.
She was featured in an episode of the Golf Channel's show 'Playing
Lessons with the Pros', and in a new show on that channel called
'My World', which gave viewers a behind the scenes look at a few
days in her life.
was a good year for Christina; she made over $600,000 and finished
in the top 25 on the money list. She finished it with a bang: at
the ADT Tour Championship, she hit a fantastic iron to one foot
in the third round playoff to advance to the million dollar final
round; she didn't win there, though.
2008, Christina started the year on fire, with top tens in three
of her first four events. She cooled off after that, but in May
again made several top tens, including a second place finish at
the Michelob Ultra. Christina ended up having a fairly strong year,
making 9 top tens, the most she had ever made in her career in a
was a so so season for Christina, but she did have two great Majors.
She nabbed a 7th place finish at the Nabisco. At the year's final
Major, The British Open, she was in contention much of the week
and wound up finishing tied for third. She also qualified for the
Solheim Cup and had an excellent record there.
had a pretty good 2010 season, not quite up there with her very
best but still very solid. She accumulated just four top tens during
the year, but two of those were at Majors. She finished 26th on
the money list with nearly half a million dollars earned.
best finish was a tie for second at the Jamie Farr, where she lost
a four way playoff to Na Yeon Choi. The playoff was interesting
in that it featured four Seoul Sisters: Koreans Choi, In Kyung Kim
and Song Hee Kim, and Korean American Christina. So, Choi beat Kim,
Kim and Kim for the title!
was off form in 2011. She did not manage even a single top ten all
year and finished 58th on the money list. She did win on the European
Tour at the Sicilian Ladies Italian Open, her first victory on that
tour and first win of any kind in several years. She also qualified
for and played on the Solheim Cup team, where she notched a win
in singles and a tie in a team match
had a terrible 2012 season. She only made $38,000 all year, with
a tie for 49th her best result. She admitted to the press that she
was suffering from clinical depression, which made focusing on golf
difficult. Her 110th place finish on the money list dropped her
down to category 16 status on tour for 2013. She also played three
events on the European tour but earned just 9,400 euro over there.
focused on the LPGA in 2013. She ended up making about $126,000
and finishing 76th on the money list, just good enough to regain
a full tour card. Her best finish was an 11th at the North Texas
had a much better 2014 season. She notched three top tens and finished
27th on the money list with over half a million dollars in earnings.
She even managed to win an event, something she hadn't done since
2005. Her win came at the year's second-to-last tournament, the
Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico. She got off to a great start
and steadfastly hung in or near the lead all week. She made $200K
for that win.
made $234K in 2015, which enabled her to finish 69th on the money
list and maintain her full status on tour. She had one top ten during
the season, a tie for 8th at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in defense
of her crown. Weirdly, despite the fact she was the defending champ,
she had to be invited to participate in the tournament, as she did
not automatically qualify. Her other notable finish in 2015 was
a tie for 11th at the year's first Major, the ANA Inspiration.
had a pretty good season in 2016. She finished 45th on the money
list with around $411,000 earned. Her best finish came at the Volvik
Championship, where she finished solo second on the back of a first
round 64. She had a 4th and a tie for 6th as her other notable finishes.
was a lesser year for Christina. Her best finish was a tie for 13th
in New Zealand, and she finished 87th on the money list with around
$150,000 earned. This dropped her status for 2018 to category 11,
but that should still be good enough to get her into most fields.