Those wins came at two of the more important events
on the KLPGA calendar. The first win was at the Hanwha Classic,
the year's most lucrative event. Kim was 6 shots behind defending
champ So Yeon Ryu with 10 holes to play. She then holed out for
eagle, beginning an improbable run up the leaderboard. On the 17th,
still three shots back, she made a hole-in-one for her second holeout
of the round. Ryu bogied the final hole and Kim won in a playoff.
The next event was the year's second Major, the
KLPGA Championship. Rookie star In Gee Chun was looking for her
second straight Major, and looked in control until a couple of bogies
knocked her back to the field. Kim made three late birdies to post
a score. Chun needed a birdie to force a playoff but missed a short
one, and Kim had her first Major win.
In the end, Kim earned a staggering 670 million
won in 2013. She led the money list much of the year before Ha Na
Jang rallied and overtook her; thus, Kim finished second. Kim also
finished 4th on the scoring average list, and had 7 top tens, three
of which were wins. Her three wins tied her (with Jang) for most
wins on the KLPGA in 2013.
Kim also came close to winning an LPGA event in
2013. She led much of the back nine at the LPGA's KEB Hana Bank
Championship in Korea. But she made bogey on the last hole to drop
out of the playoff between Amy Yang and Hee Kyung Seo that Yang
eventually won. She thus finished tied for third in her first LPGA
Kim had an excellent 2014 on the KLPGA, though not
quite as good as her 2013 had been. She had 12 top tens and two
wins, and finished 10th on the KLPGA money list with roughly 445
million won earned. Besides the two wins, she also lost in a playoff
at the ADT-CAPS to rookie star Min Sun Kim (another top player,
Yoon Kyung Heo, was also in the playoff).
Kim also played in five LPGA events in 2014, although
she didn't have particularly good results. Included in those five
were her first two Majors: the US Women's Open, where she finished
tied for 46th, and the Kraft Nabisco, where she finished tied for
61st. At the end of the year, she went to LPGA Q-School and finished
tied for 6th, earning a tour card for 2015.
In 2015, she joined a deep field of KLPGA stars
who were rookies, including top players Hyo Joo Kim, Kyu Jung Baek
and Ha Na Jang, as well as a number of other talented players, including
former world #1 amateur Minjee Lee. And amazingly, despite the competition,
it was Sei Young Kim who won the Rookie of the Year award!
Kim started her season with a missed cut, but in
her second start, she fought her way into a three way playoff. She
won on the first playoff hole, beating Korean player Sun Young Yoo
and rookie Ariya Jutanugarn at the Pure Silk Bahamas. She followed
that up with another top five in Thailand, and a 6th a few weeks
later at the Founders Cup.
At the year's first Major, the ANA Inspiration,
Sei Young Kim charged to a 54 hole lead, but was not able to hold
on and finished fourth. But her disappointment didn't last long.
At her next start, the Lotte Championship in Hawaii, she battled
into a final round matchup with top Korean gun Inbee Park and another
star, IK Kim. After a clutch par save on the 17th hole, she was
still tied for the lead with Park, but hit her drive on 18 into
the water. Game over? No, because Kim hit her third to the fringe,
then chipped in for par to force a playoff. In the first hole of
the playoff, she hit a spectacular iron that bounced twice, then
landed in the cup for eagle and the win. She played 18 twice on
Sunday, and never putted it once! Kim's win, with two holeouts in
the final two holes, was one of the most incredible in Korean golf
In June, Kim once again found herself in the final
group at a Major on Sunday. This time it was the KPMG Women's PGA
Championship, and once again she was matched against Inbee Park.
But this time, Park got the best of Kim, who faded to solo second.
That was still her best Major result, and it established her as
the rookie to beat for the rest of the season.
Kim also contended at the Canadian Women's Open,
where she missed a birdie putt on the final hole that would have
gotten her into a playoff for the title. In October, she collected
her third win of the year in China, once again working her magic
by chipping in to save par on one hole after hitting her approach
into the water.
Kim clinched the Rookie of the Year when Hyo Joo
Kim was not able to win in Mexico the following week. Sei Young
wound up with over $1.8 million in earnings, putting her fourth
on the money list. She was 8th in scoring average, 10th in driving
distance, 2nd in birdies made and first in eagles made, and 3rd
in the Player of the Year race. It was an astounding year for Sei
Young Kim, and set her up to quite possibly make the Olympic team
In December, Kim also played at the Kowa Queens
Team event. She lost her team match (paired with In Gee Chun), but
rolled in her singles match to a huge win.
Sei Young Kim had another monster season in 2016.
She added two more LPGA wins to her resume, and qualified for both
the International Crown and the Olympics. She struggled at the Olympics,
finishing 25th, but was one of the stars on the Korean International
Crown team, which finished second to the US.
Kim got her season off to a great start with a near
miss at the year's first event, the Pure Silk Bahamas. She finished
second there to Hyo Joo Kim. She managed a tie for third in her
next start at the Coates, losing to old rival Ha Na Jang. But everything
came together for Sei Young in Phoenix at the Founders Cup. She
shot a 63, her best LPGA score to date, in the first round, and
bettered that with a 62 in the final round for a 27 under total,
the lowest score with relation to par a Korean had ever achieved
on the LPGA.
Sei Young got her second win of the season at the
Meijer Classic. She made bogey on the final hole to drop into a
playoff with Spain's Carlotta Ciganda, but kept her playoff record
perfect with a fantastic approach shot from the rough to two feet
on the playoff hole.
Sei Young also had a runner-up in Canada and a fifth
place finish at the Evian Championship among her 9 top tens. Her
money total and position was just a little worse than 2015: she
earned $1,445,937, which put her in 6th on the money list, the second
highest ranked Korean behind In Gee Chun.
Sei Young also played the KLPGA's Mirae Asset Daewoo
Classic in September. She just missed out on the playoff, finishing
third. In November, Sei Young played on the victorious LPGA team
at the ING Champions, contributing a singles win over Ji Hyun Oh
and a team win combined with So Yeon Ryu (she lost the other team
match teamed with Mi Hyang Lee).
Sei Young had another great year in 2017. She made
$1.2 million and finished just outside the top ten on the money
list. Her scoring average of 69.91 was her first sub-70 scoring
average for a season on the LPGA.
She had a bunch of great tournaments, too. The highlight
was her win at the Lorena Ochoa Match Play in Mexico, the 6th of
her LPGA career. But she also had several more top fives, including
a tie for 4th at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship. She also managed
a tie for 8th at the US Women's Open and a tie for 6th at the Evian.
Kim also played at the year-ending ING Champions,
representing the LPGA team. She won one team match and lost one,
and also lost her singles match to Jin Young Ko. The KLPGA won the
event for the first time.