At the end of 2007, In-Kyung was one of the members
of Team Asia at the Lexus Cup. She was, in fact, more than just
a member: she teamed with Se Ri Pak to win both team matches,
than won her singles match as well to go undefeated for the
week. She also came up with the idea for everyone to paint slogans
on their faces and arms, a bonding exercise that helped rally
Asia to the victory.
If 2007 was a great start to her career, 2008
was a fantastic second act. She started the year in style
with top tens in two of her first three events. She cooled
off for a while after that, but returned with a vengeance
at the US Women's Open, where she finished tied for third
with Angela Park, her best ever Major finish. She also notched
a top ten at the British Women's Open that season.
She got hot again in September, running off
a string of great finishes that culminated in her first professional
win at the Longs Drugs Challenge in October. With over $700,000
in earnings, her 2008 season was an unqualified success.
Inky's third season was even more impressive
than her rookie effort. Early in the year, she notched a third
place in Phoenix, and very nearly won the Michelob Ultra,
faltering on the second to last hole and finishing second.
She claimed her second career win shortly thereafter at the
State Farm. She made two late clutch birdies to sneak past
Korean legend Se Ri Pak for the one shot victory. Kim also
contended at the US Women's Open, but came up short late Sunday
to finish third for the second straight year.
Kim continued to have solid events much of
the rest of the year, compiling ten top tens by the end of
the season and earning over a million dollars on the year.
She finished her year with a bang: after playing on the victorious
Korean Kyoraku Cup team, she was invited to play the European
Tour's Dubai Ladies Masters, and won that as well, holding
off Michelle Wie in the final round for that win.
Kim continued her brilliance in 2010, her
fourth year on tour. She collected 12 top tens that season,
the most in her career. She also had top five finishes at
three of the year's four Majors, including a tie for third
at the British, her third career third place in a Major. Kim
ended up with another million dollar season, and finished
the year in the top ten on the Rolex Rankings to boot!
But a win eluded her until nearly the end
of the year. At the Lorena Ochoa Invitational, she fired a
brilliant 64 in the final round, amassing one of the most
fantastic putting performances of her career. She caught and
passed Norwegian star Suzann Pettersen for the win, her third.
She then stunned the crowd by donating her entire first place
check, over $200,000, to charity. It was one of the most touching
charitable acts golf had ever seen.
Inky had another fantastic season in 2011.
In fact, for the first half of the year, she was the very
best Korean on tour. Her very first round of the year was
also the best of her career, a 63 at the Honda Thailand tournament.
She faded a little in the second half, but still had several
great finishes in that span. Unfortunately, she was not able
to win a tournament for the fourth straight year, but came
close. Her best finish was a tie for 2nd place at the Lorena
Ochoa Invitational, in defense of her title. She had 9 other
top tens on the year as well. She finished in the top 12 in
three of the four Majors, and made nearly $900,000 during
the season. The US Women's Open was a near miss for her: she
was in the final group and wound up playing nearly two full
rounds on Sunday (they did not re-pair after she finished
the third round). Alas, she did not play well on that day
and faded to 12th place.
She also got a chance to see what her donation
to Lorena's foundation meant to the kids in Guadalajara. They
invited her back to the school in the Spring, and was presented
with a guitar and a classroom that was named after her. As
you can imagine, she was extremely touched by the gestures.
IK Kim's 2012 season was marred by undoubtedly
the most infamous moment of her career, and perhaps the most
notorious in all of Korean golf. She battled all week at the
Kraft Nabisco, and on Sunday hovered near the lead much of
the day. Finally, she made her move, draining a great birdie
on the 17th hole to take the lead. She reached the final green
in regulation, lagged her putt to within a foot, and only
needed to make that tap-in to claim her first Major. Alas,
unbelievably, she missed it. She went on to lose the playoff
to fellow Korean Sun Young Yoo. Although she seemed to handle
the disaster well, she never really recovered from it on the
course in 2012.
Almost immediately after the Kraft, she suffered
a wrist injury that knocked her out of action for a month,
and hampered her much of the rest of the season. Despite all
these setbacks, it was not a terrible year for Kim (though
by her high standards it was quite weak). She notched five
total top tens, achieved her highest ever Major finish (even
if it should have been one place higher), and made over half
a million dollars. She also was named Special Olympics Ambassador,
and donated the other half of her Ochoa prize money to that
2013 was another great year for 'Income' Kim.
She made over a million dollars and finished 7th on the money
list, tied with her best ever. She also achieved her best
scoring average by a tiny bit. She made 9 top tens during
the year. She had two great chances to end her winless drought,
but came up short in both. At the Kia Classic, she wound up
in a playoff with Spain's Beatriz Recari, but had to watch
as Recari chipped in for birdie to win that title in Inky's
adopted hometown of San Diego. Later in the year, she played
brilliantly at the US Women's Open. She shot a 4 under par
for the week, one of only three under par, but still couldn't
make a dent in Inbee Park's lead and wound up second. With
So Yeon Ryu finishing third three shots behind Inky, it was
the first 1-2-3 Korean finish ever at that event.
Inky also finished fifth at the Canadian Women's
Open, but could not catch teen phenom Lydia Ko; and started
well at the Evian but had a bad final round to finish 19th.
She also was in the hunt at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational,
and had a lot of fans on her side, but shot a final round
75 to finish 7th.
IK started the 2014 season late, not showing
up for a tournament until the Founders Cup in late March.
Apparently she had taken an unusually long break over the
Winter, and it took her a while to get up to speed. She did
not have a top ten until August, and only had two for the
year, resulting in her weakest overall season since she joined
the tour. In fact, her struggles were so bad that she very
nearly didn't make the International Crown team; had the team
been chosen even one week later, she would not have been on
She did not have a good week at the Interational
Crown, winning only one match when paired with Na Yeon Choi,
and losing her singles match as well. But after that, her
game definitely picked up in the latter half of the season.
She very nearly won the Portland Classic, focing a playoff
with Austin Ernst, but she lost on the first playoff hole.
She also had top twenties in her final three events.
IK did have one bright spot in 2014: she won
the Ladies European Masters in England the week before the
Women's British Open. The event, a Ladies European Tour event,
was her first trophy in several years. She won by five strokes.
Kim was off her game again for most of 2015,
although she had a few highlights. She wound up 54th on the
money list, with two top tens. She earned around $340,000.
Her best event was the Lotte championship in Hawaii. She found
herself in a dogfight on the final day with Inbee Park and
Sei Young Kim. Inky was tied at the top until she struggled
on the final two holes; Sei Young eventually beat Park in
a playoff, with Inky finishing third. Her other top ten was
a tie for 10th at the Sime Darby in Malaysia.
Kim had signed with Hanwha in the off-season
and played at their KLPGA event, the Hanwha Classic, in 2015.
She did great, and found herself in the hunt the last few
holes. Alas, she missed a birdie on the final hole and finished
third. She also played the JLPGA's first Major, the Salonpas
Cup, where she finished tied for 12th.
Kim had a major comeback season in 2016, although
it didn't start that way. Her season really picked up steam
in the summer, when she notched her first top ten of the season
at the ShopRite Classic. But in the Fall, she really caught
fire. She played brilliantly at the LET's ISPS Handa Ladies
European Masters in Germany, capturing her first win in any
tournament in quite a while. She carried the momentum over
to the Evian Championship, where she finished 6th.
But it all came together at the Reignwood
LPGA Classic a few weeks later. Inky outlasted MJ Hur to capture
her first LPGA title in six years and the fourth of her career.
After another top ten in Korea a few weeks later, Kim did
not play again for the rest of the season. It is unknown whether
she is struggling with injuries or just decided to take the
rest of the year off.
Even in limited action, Kim managed to make
$628,908 on the LPGA in 2016, finishing 29th on the money
2017 was the best season of Kim's career to
date. The first four months were somewhat lackluster, but
then she got it all together in June to win at the ShopRite
Classic. She followed that with four more weak events, including
two missed cuts, but then once again, out of nowhere, she
pulled off another win, this time at the Marathon Classic.
It was her first multiple win season in her career. And she
wasn't done yet.
She followed that with a 9th in Scotland,
then put herself into the hunt for her first Major at the
Women's British Open at Kingsbarns. Her third round 66 staked
her to a six shot lead, and she hung tough in the fourth round
to claim a 2-shot victory for her first ever Major. At last
she put the demons of her miss at the 2012 Kraft Nabisco to
Kim wound up earning over $1.2 million for
the year, just a tad below her career best. Her scoring average
of 70.09 was several tenths of a stroke better than her previous
best. She was 12th on the money list. Her three wins was again
the best she had ever managed in a single year.
She ended her year by contending at the Dubai
Ladies Masters, although in the end she lost in a playoff
to LPGA player Angel Yin.