GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP - Christina Kim says she's happy.
The fact that she's in contention for her first LPGA victory since 2005 is a bonus.
Kim, who has been open about her struggles with injury and depression, begins today's final round of the $1.5 million ShopRite LPGA Classic in second place - one shot back of leader Stacy Lewis.
"It's just golf," Kim said Saturday. "I've gone through a lot of things in my life. Those things considered made me realize that chasing a white golf ball around getting paid for it is a pretty damned good job, and I've always enjoyed every moment of it."
Kim played herself into contention with 7-under-par 64 on the Bay Course at Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club on Friday. That score was her lowest on the tour in six years. She followed that round with a 4-under-par 67 Saturday morning.
Kim, 30, joined the tour in 2003. She won events in 2004 and 2005. Kim quickly became a fan favorite because of her outgoing personality and the emotion she showed on the course.
But her game disintegrated in 2010 because of back and elbow injuries. She could no longer hit the ball as far as she used to. Shots that once landed on the green now ended up in a bunker or the rough.
The distance loss affected the long hitter's psyche. She had to return to qualifying school in 2012 to re-earn her spot on the tour. She had talked openly of contemplating suicide in 2011.
Kim is now healthy. She's changed her diet. She underwent platlet spinning to cure tendonitis in her elbow in January. In that process, doctors withdraw blood from an athlete and spin it in a centrifuge to separate the platlets. The platlet-rich plasma is then injected into the injured area to promote healing. The treatment worked.
"I think it's fair to say I don't have (tendonitis) anymore," Kim said.
After the treatment, Kim didn't pick up a club for six weeks, Kim waited until March to make her 2014 debut.
Her play has reflected her heath. She has made the cut in eight of nine events this year and finished tied for sixth at the North Texas Shootout in May for her first top-10 finish since 2010.
"I just really got healthy and tightened it all up in the last seven or eight months or so," she said. "The arm feels great. I'm in a really good place."
And now she has a chance for her first win in nine years.
Contact Michael McGarry: