It was a momentous weekend for former Duke standouts Jaravee Boonchant and Gina Kim.
At the season-ending Epson Tour Championship, Boonchant captured her first win on the LPGA’s developmental circuit at a tournament-record 23-under 265. Boonchant finished a shot ahead of six-year veteran Riley Rennell, launching from 36th on the season-long points standings to 12th, with $76,543 in earnings on the year ($37,500 from the Tour Championship alone).
Despite the victory, Boonchant did not secure her card for the 2023 LPGA campaign, as only the top 10 on the final Epson Tour money list obtain LPGA status. But the win still counts all the same, and undoubtedly boosts the 23-year-old’s confidence to cap off a season in which she made 13 cuts in 16 starts with four top-10s on the Epson Tour. Boonchant said as much, telling GoDuke, “I’m proud of myself that I trusted the process and didn’t stress myself out too much.”
Plus, she did earn an exemption into December’s LPGA Q-Series, so the former All-American will have another chance to earn Category 14 or 15 status (a lower priority ranking) depending on how she finishes—top-20 and ties for Category 14, 21 through 45 and ties for Category 15.
“It’s really unbelievable. I still can’t believe that I actually won the tournament just now,” Boonchant told GoDuke.
As for Kim, the former ACC individual medalist capped off her first season in the professional golf landscape with a tie for 38th at -10 (278), finishing the year eighth on the money list. Kim, who competed in only 12 LPGA events—some via Monday qualifying—due to Category 14 status on the priority list racked up eight top-20s on the Epson Tour, including a victory at May’s Inova Mission Inn Resort & Club, and $82,133 in earnings.
Kim now has Category Nine status for the 2023 LPGA season, affording her full status and consistent starts on tour.
“It feels amazing, because I managed to get firsthand experience of what it’s like to not have a great status and having to Monday Q into a lot of these events,” Kim told GoDuke.
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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.