Kim puts heat on Oh in two-way WPGA battle

Murray Wenzel |

Grace Kim is in a tussle for the lead with Su Oh after shooting a three-under 68 on Friday.
Grace Kim is in a tussle for the lead with Su Oh after shooting a three-under 68 on Friday.

Grace Kim was straight back out on the putting green after a tantalising round that turned the maiden Australian WPGA Championship into a contest.

The 21-year-old’s three-under 68 at Royal Queensland GC in Brisbane pushed her to five-under for the tournament and within a shot of overnight leader Su Oh.

Playing in the afternoon slot, Oh began her round with two early birdies before dropping a shot to be six-under through six holes in what’s looming as a two-horse race.

Kim, fresh off a win at Geoff Ogilvy’s Sandbelt Invitational last month, will enter the weekend confident she can reel her in though  missing numerous birdie putts for a second-straight day.

“I let a couple slip by, so I’ll be on the putting green very soon,” she said after closing her round with another frustrating par.

“I didn’t really give it a chance. Definitely that’s what caused a couple of loose pars, but in the end as well, it was fine.”

The new event is being played within the Australian PGA Championship, Kim coincidentally placed in Ogilvy’s group for the first two rounds.

“It was just a round I couldn’t have asked for,” Kim, who hopes to earn full-time status on the LPGA Tour this year, said.

“His ideas about giving us more opportunities to play, it’s just so good and … his short game’s unreal. 

“Being able to keep himself in play, and not show if he’s playing badly, that’s a big learning curve.”

Ogilvy, who will likely miss the cut after finishing three-over, said Kim was the “complete package” and a product of the legacy left by Karrie Webb, who the new WPGA event’s trophy is named after.

“She doesn’t have a weakness, she wasn’t showing any nerves – the complete package,” he said.

“I was a closet Karrie fan … she’s a legend, she gave the Aussie girls a feeling that ‘wow, we can be the best in the world here’.”

Generous crowds followed their group, Kim obliging the many young girls waiting for her autograph after her round.

The initiative follows the success the Vic Open and Sandbelt Invitational have had as mixed events.

“It just shows how far it elevates the tournament with guys and girls (playing together),” Ogilvy said.

“I love playing with them, they probably really enjoy it too and we get sick of seeing the same smelly old blokes each week.

“Look at the Australian Open tennis; events are just better that way and it’s certainly the future, a formula that would work around the world.”