VOLVIK RACE FOR THE CARD UPDATE
After stepping into the winner’s circle for the second time in her Symetra Tour career at the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout, Hyemin Kim (Seoul, Republic of Korea) launched 66 spots in the Volvik Race for the Card to No. 31 to earn our “Move of the Week.”
Her previous season-best finish in 2018 was tied for seventh at Florida’s Natural Charity Classic, the first tournament of the year. Following the victory, Kim is not among the competitors for the second annual Guardian Championship from Sept. 21-23 at Capitol Hill’s Senator Course on the Robert Trent Jones (RTJ) Golf Trail.
“Before last week, I didn’t expect these final tournaments to be this exciting for me, but now I’m so glad and there is two more chances I can try to get into the top-10,” said Kim, who has accumulated $28,974 across 15 starts this season. “This win definitely gave me a lot of confidence and last week I finally started thinking I’m good enough to win this game. It is a huge turning point for me this year.”
The top-10 in the Volvik Race for the Card after the Symetra Tour Championship earn full LPGA Tour membership for 2019. Meanwhile, those from Nos. 11-30 qualify for Q-Series. With three events remaining on the schedule, we are getting down to crunch time.
Prior to the 19th tournament on the official qualifying tour of the LPGA, the top-10 in the Volvik Race for the Card saw several changes. Dottie Ardina (Laguna, Philippines) still holds a commanding advantage at No. 1 with $83,171.
From there, Stephanie Meadow (Jordanstown, Northern Ireland) leapfrogged Linnea Ström (Hovas, Sweden) with a tied for 13th showing in the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout and Elizabeth Szokol (Winnetka, Illinois) used a tied for sixth performance to do the same to Charlotte Thomas (Guildford, England).
Leading off the second half of the top-10 is Ruixin Liu (Dalian, China), coming off a tied for third result in El Dorado, Ark. that vaulted her back into the mix at $55,124.
“This move definitely cheers me up and takes some weight off my shoulders,” said Liu, who sits just $6,184 behind Meadow. “It definitely puts pressure on me since anything can happen, but I also think I got more focused on my game because of the situation. I get nervous pretty easy so that is the No. 1 thing I need to overcome in order to finish the year in the top-10.”
Isi Gabsa (Munich, Germany) maintained her spot at No. 7, then Jenny Haglund (Karlstad, Sweden) dropped two positions, while Pavarisa Yoktuan (Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand) and Stephanie Kono (Honolulu, Hawaii) each fell one to round out the top-10.
In addition to Kim’s big climb, Brittany Benvenuto (Langhorne, Pennsylvania) shot up the rankings with her second-place finish last week at Mystic Creek Golf Course. The University of Arizona alumna lands at No. 49 this week, 61 spots better than where she was prior.
“I don't usually follow the money list too closely because it can change in an instant, but it's nice to be in a position to play my way into Q-Series,” Benvenuto said. “I know I will need a few more good finishes in the last three events, but the opportunity is there. It's fun to be able to play for something at the end of the year.”
Every member of the top-10 is in in Prattville, Ala. this week for the third to last event on the Symetra Tour schedule.
“This year is the most competitive season I have ever played so far, so many cuts under par and low scores every week,” said Kim. “It’s hard to guess who’s going to win because everyone is playing so great. I think that put too much pressure on me, to not make mistakes and try to be perfect rather than just play golf. It took a while to get my confidence, but it’s never too late.”