You can officially add "LPGA Tour member" to Gina Kim's decorated resumé.
After securing her status for 2022 at Q Series last month and weighing her options to either turn pro now or defer her status until after her senior spring, Kim announced Wednesday morning via GoDuke that she is turning professional and will not suit up with the Blue Devils this spring. The North Carolina native looks to make her pro debut at the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio, set for Jan. 27-30, through Monday qualifying.
As for her Duke career, well, what else is there to say? In three seasons, Kim was part of a national title in 2019 and an ACC team title in 2021. She also captured the individual crown at the conference tournament last year, with her -10 total resulting in a three-shot victory against Florida State's Beatrice Wallon.
Despite her sophomore campaign being cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chapel Hill native was still a Golfweek All-American three times—honorable mention in 2019 and 2020 and second team in 2021.
Ultimately, Kim's time in college will be remembered for her role on that 2019 title group. As Duke was tied 2-2 with Arizona in the match-play semifinals, Kim held a a 1-UP lead against Bianca Pagdangana. The then-freshman leaked her tee shot on 18 into a fairway bunker, seemingly giving Pagdangana an opening to tie the match.
But facing an extremely difficult approach, with the ball below her feet and a pin tucked in the back left corner, Kim struck a beauty to tap-in range. After holing the putt, Kim clinched the Blue Devils' spot in the finals against Wake Forest, letting out a shriek in the process.
Despite a 1-UP loss to the Demon Deacons' Emilia Migliaccio, Kim's 2-1 record in match-play, along with a tie for 10th at +4 in stroke-play, gave Duke a massive boost en route to its seventh NCAA title under head coach Dan Brooks.
When it comes to the LPGA, it's obviously tough to project, but Kim surely has the game and attitude to make things happen at the next level. Her accuracy off the tee, crafty wedge play and rock-solid putting are all clear strengths, and were all a major reason she checked in at No. 8 of the most recent World Amateur Golf Rankings.
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Max Rego is a Trinity senior and an associate sports editor for The Chronicle's 118th volume. He was previously sports managing editor for Volume 117.