“I can’t promise,” says popular American Christina Kim of her chances of hoisting the trophy at this week’s ISPS Handa Vic Open at 13th Beach Golf Links on the Bellarine Peninsula. “But there’s no reason I can’t. I feel good and I feel ready.”
Kim has been a regular visitor to these shores in recent years and has made no secret of her love for both Australia and the courses which host our big events each year.
Alongside long time New Zealand boyfriend and caddie for the week Duncan French, it would be fair to say the pair look forward to this week at least as much as any on the LPGA schedule.
“I love playing golf here in Australia because it heralds back to a time when I was a youngster growing up,” Kim says ahead of Thursday’s opening round.
“I used to play around with all sorts of trajectories and spin around the greens and you can do that here much more than we see week to week in America.
“Because of the nature of the courses and the options around the greens you have the ability to use the ground so much more.
“You can use almost any club from any distance and you use your entire golf bag. There is something just remarkable about that.”
Kim has a good and growing appreciation for course architecture thanks to French and good friend and course architect Mike Clayton.
“The game is so much more interesting – at least to me – when it requires both imagination and execution,” she says.
“There is obviously great skill required to play a more aerial form of the game where you control the yardage you fly the ball and it stops where it lands.
“But the excitement of having to land the ball several paces from where you want it to end up and judging how the ground will make it move….it’s just more entertaining I think.
“In an age of 460cc drivers and balls that don’t spin, just the opportunity to use those is fantastic.”
Kim lost full playing status in 2019 after a year of what she describes as ‘golf doo-doo’ but says she has been working hard in the off season and is happy with where her game is.
A change in eating habits has seen her lose a significant amount of weight though she says it wasn’t a goal when she started on a Keto diet.
“I never went in with the thought process of ‘let me see how much weight can I lose’, it was just a happy by-product,” she said.
“For me it was just a case of ‘let’s get these shackles that sugar has put on me and get rid of them’ and I’ve done that.
“I don’t have sugar cravings anymore and even an under ripe strawberry is too sweet for my taste buds now.”
In terms of her golf Kim says she is pleased she ‘didn’t leave her golf swing in Florida’.
“It made the trip with me, which is great,” she says with a laugh. “I love these golf courses here and next week’s course at Royal Adelaide as well so I’m super keen and excited to get going,” she said.
“And with Duncan caddying for me for the two weeks – which he doesn’t do very often – I just feel like we’re both in a really good place so we’ll tee it up and see what happens.”
Kim tees off Thursday at 12.20pm on the first tee of the Creek course alongside Julieta Granada and Jennifer Chang.