In her seventh year on the Symetra Tour, Hyemin Kim (Seoul, Republic of Korea) captured her second career professional win on Sunday, Sept. 16 at Mystic Creek Golf Club for the fourth annual Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout in El Dorado, Ark. She moved up 66 spots in the Volvik Race for the Card to No. 31 following her victory and is off this week before competing in the final two events of the season.
“I’m quitting this game after this season.”
I started to put this in my mind after last year. I was burnt out, didn’t know what I was missing and how to get my confidence back. And I thought, I’m too old to try to get onto the LPGA Tour anyway. Many players from my country, a lot of them are already retired or started to find a new career. It seemed like they were enjoying their life and they know the path for them. I didn’t know where my life was going.
I kept asking myself, “Is this really the right decision to be in the States?”
“I’m not good enough to try this challenge.”
“It’s time to go back to my country.”
Every year I have that in my mind more and more. Even after my first win on the Symetra Tour last year, I couldn’t stop doubting myself. I felt like as much as I try harder, the result was heading the opposite way. It’s so difficult for me not practicing hard everyday, especially when my season is not going well.
I only made four cuts this year until I won in Arkansas so it tells how much I was depressed during the season. It was just devastating considering how well I wanted to play. Then when I got to El Dorado, my body didn’t feel well after 10 straight hours of driving. I felt pain in my neck and shoulder so much that I wasn’t sure I would be able to play in the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout. Thankfully I was able to play the nine-hole Pro-Am event on Thursday and I felt better as the day went on. I wanted to spend more time on the driving range, but I decided to spend more time on the putting green. I think that decision helped me a lot to play this course this well.
Only one three-putt all week, over the three days, and I didn’t putt more than 29 times in any given round. That was a big accomplishment for me because I normally made three-putts during many rounds this year. Mystic Creek Golf Club was much too easy to make three-putts if I lost even just a little focus or landed at the wrong spot on or around the green.
The first day is always exciting for me because it’s another brand new start. I always wish something amazing would happen, but I wasn’t in the mood last week and was only praying for my injuries to not get worse during the round. I’m not sure if that attitude worked for me, but I hit the flag with my 52-degree wedge on the second hole and made a tap-in birdie. It was a very delightful start for me in this difficult condition. The next hole was a par-3, 149 yards to the hole, pin on the left. I just tried to land on the center of the green, but after my swing I saw the ball fly directly toward the flag. It landed softly and rolled in.
It was a weird feeling. You should be so excited to make a hole-in-one, but this time I was so calm. I wasn’t nervous either. It just felt like I made a real nice birdie again. After that, I played very solid and thankfully ended up shooting 4-under par. I wasn’t the leader that day, but I was super satisfied with how I played.
Even on the second day, my start wasn’t that great, but I was still able to shoot 2-under par. Then I saw my name was on the top of the leaderboard. After the second round I was not able to sleep at all with too many thoughts, expectations and wishes running through my head. I hadn’t been this nervous when I won last year, but I guess I wished to win this time even more.
The start to my third day was awful. I made three bogeys in the first eight holes and I was able to see there was so many people tied with me for the lead of 3-under par at that point. However, I kept trying to not give up. I was sure it wasn’t only me feeling the pressure, so I was able to keep trying.
It was an amazing feeling when I made birdie on No. 9 with all the emotions after that. It was a huge turning point for me in the round. After that birdie, I started to play my game, which was the same as the first two days. I was very focused on my game, not trying to win the trophy. Still, I can’t believe how I ended up victorious in the tournament.
I’m not a really positive person, but this win will definitely change my attitude for the rest of season. I really appreciate that I still have chances to go forward and get my confidence back.