AURORA, ORE. (Tuesday, July 5, 2005) - Rebecca Kim of Tigard, Ore. one of the premiere junior golfers in Oregon, earned a coveted exemption into the LPGA Safeway Classic by winning the Safeway Open with a 1-under-par 71 against and impressive field of 30 professional and amateur players at Langdon Farms Golf Club in Aurora, Ore.
Kim, who celebrated her seventeenth birthday yesterday, has won a number of titles of late including the prestigious State Junior Match Play Championship, the Peter Jacobsen Junior Challenge, and a repeat as 4A High School champion.
She also recently earned an opportunity to play in the US Junior Girls Amateur Championship as well as the Callaway Junior Worlds later this month and was also named to the Oregon Junior Girls America's Cup team.
Kim has experienced playing against more seasoned players with a recent runner-up finish in the Oregon Golf Association's Tournament of Champions as well as the title in the Oregon Women's Stroke Play Championship last year.
Today, Kim was paired with Portland native and 2003 Oregon Amateur champion Allison Hanna, an LPGA player on the Futures Tour with a conditional LPGA card, and Michelle Murphy, a former LPGA tour player, eight-time US Open entrant, and currently women's golf coach at the University of Portland.
"I was suffering with a head cold and almost didn't play, but I really wanted to give this a try," commented Kim. "I had a great front-9 with five birdies sinking several really long putts," she added. "It was only then that I really thought I had a chance."
Overall Kim had an up and down round finishing with 6 birdies, 1 double bogey and 3 bogeys. "My goal was just to give it my best and not give up, although I did get a little frustrated after the double bogey," she noted. "Never did I imagine an opportunity like this would come so soon," she remarked.
Kim deflated an impressive field that included the 2004 U.S. Women's Amateur Champion Jane Park from Calif., the #3 ranked junior in the U.S., In-Bee Park from Las Vegas, NV and Paige MacKenzie from the University of Washington, who recently tied for 13th at the US Women's Open.
The Safeway Classic is the oldest continuous event on the LPGA tour and the list of champions is like a who's-who of LPGA Hall of Fame members. Kathy Whitworth, Nancy Lopez, Donna Caponi, JoAnne Carner, Amy Alcott, Betsy King, Patty Sheehan and Annika Sorenstam are just a few who have won this prestigious event.