GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — Symetra Tour player Eunice Kim and University of North Carolina amateur standout Brynn Walker will join the rest of the field in this week’s ShopRite LPGA Classic at Seaview Hotel and Golf Club.
Kim won the Monday qualifier with a 1-under par 70, while Walker earned the final spot by besting England’s Rachel Drummond on the second playoff hole at Seaview’s Bay Course.
“I played in the qualifier here in 2017 and missed getting into the tournament, so I’m really happy,” said Kim, 21, who grew up in Australia and lives in Riverside, California. “But having played in it before, I kind of knew what to expect.
Kim was among 31 players who competed Monday to earn a spot in the 144-player field for the 31st edition of the tournament, which will be held Friday to Sunday.
The group included former Mays Landing resident and Oakcrest High School graduate Joanna Coe, who won the qualifier last year with a 3-under 68. She shot a 74 Monday.
“I thought I played pretty well considering I didn’t practice at all for this,” said Coe, who is an assistant professional at Baltimore Country Club. “I’ve been slammed (busy) at the golf course, but I figured I was coming here no matter what (for the Pro-Am).”
Coe, 29, is enjoying a tremendous golf season.
She won the PGA Women’s Stroke Play championship in Florida in February, then was the top women’s finisher at the PGA Professional Championship last month.
Next up is the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, one of the LPGA’s five majors, at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, on June 18-23.
“I’m getting ready for that tournament, so this was a good practice round for me,” Coe said.
Kim posted the top score as part of the final group to play Monday.
Walker prevailed in a playoff by making par on the 18th hole after both players bogeyed No. 10.
“I’ve played enough golf to know not to let mistakes like that bother me,” Walker said. “You just deal with it and move on.”
Experience was a factor in Walker’s success.
Monday marked her sixth appearance at the ShopRite qualifier, which she won in 2017 as a high school senior. She had also played Seaview’s Bay and Pines courses a lot. She grew up in St. David’s, Pennsylvania, outside Philadelphia.
“Whenever it would snow there, it would always be nice down here, so we’d come and play,” Walker said. “I’ve had some really good moments here. I won in 2017 on my 18th birthday, and I just turned 21 two days ago, so now I can really celebrate.”