KIA Classic – Ji Wins Two Cars With Victory at Kia Classic

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Updated: March 26, 2018

Ji Wins Two Cars With Victory at Kia Classic

CARLSBAD, Calif. – When asked after her thrilling victory at the Kia Classic how she planned to get the two cars she won from Carlsbad to Palm Springs for this week’s ANA Inspiration, Eun-Hee Ji simply laughed.

“I have no idea,” Ji said laughing. “This is my eighth hole in one, but I never have a car for hole-in-one. This is my first one. I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

Ji captured her fourth career win on Sunday at Aviara Golf Club with an incredible ace at the par 3, 14th hole. She jarred a 7-iron from 166 yards and playing partner Lizette Salas saw going it going in all the way.

“I called her hole-in-one,” Salas said after finishing runner-up to Ji. “It was in the air and I said, ‘Dunk,’ and it went in. So, she’s welcome.”

The ace earned Ji her first of two cars of the day, a Kia Sorrento. Ji is also taking home a new Kia Stinger as the winner of the Tournament.

In-Kyung Kim of Korea tees off the 1st hole during the Final Round of the LPGA KIA CLASSIC at the Park Hyatt Aviara golf course on March 25, 2018 in Carlsbad, California

Kim Recovers Clubs

After two months, In-Kyung Kim recovered her missing golf clubs this week in San Diego. The 2017 Ricoh Women’s British Open champion hadn’t seen her clubs since the season-opening event in the Bahamas. After weeks of getting no answer from the airline that checked her bags and never delivered them to her, Kim set out to find them on her own. She posted on social media, with the help of TV commentator Alison Whitaker, about her missing equipment. Three fans in the San Diego watched the video and saw her clubs for sale at a sporting goods store in the area. They were selling for $69.99. Kim was able to recover her golf bag and five of her clubs, including a few of her wedges. One of her clubs is currently listed for sale online.

“It’s good to have a conclusion, I don’t have to wait anymore,” Kim said. “It was kind of nice. Some people really just brought those clubs to me.”

Although she was thrilled to recover her missing equipment, they weren’t the clubs that helped her earn a T4 finish in Carlsbad. Kim had spent so long working with club manufacturers to try and recapture the same lies and lofts that she had in her old clubs that she didn’t dare put the old ones in her bag. She didn’t know what condition they were in.

“I was feeling pretty happy coming into this week because I really worked hard, like I worked a lot,” Kim said. “I went to the factory like a dozen times. They were like, ‘I.K., are you ever happy?’ I was like, ‘Can you bend this this way, that way.’ It was just like this for last six weeks.”

Kim will head to the season’s first major with the confidence of a top-5 finish having adjusted to her new equipment and the closure of knowing what happened to her missing gear.

Cindy Lacrosse tees off the 1st hole during the Final Round of the LPGA KIA CLASSIC at the Park Hyatt Aviara golf course on March 25, 2018 in Carlsbad, California

Last Qualifiers for ANA

The sub-story to this week’s Kia Classic was the goal of qualifying for this week’s ANA Inspiration.

Aditi Ashok will celebrate her 20th birthday on Thursday at Rancho Mirage. She played her way into the field with a Sunday 7-under par, 65 to finish the week T14 and jump to No. 57 on the Tour’s money list. The top-80 on the money list, including the top-20 who had yet to qualify, earned a spot in this week’s field at the ANA Inspiration. Click here for more on Ashok’s early birthday gift. 

In the feel-good story for the week at the Kia Classic, Cindy LaCrosse put herself in contention for her first win in what was her 100th start on the LPGA Tour. LaCrosse has never finished inside the top-10 in an event on the LPGA Tour and found herself playing in the third to last group on Sunday. She started the day just one-back of the lead but a final round, 73 left her once again outside the top-10 in a tie for 18th. As a nice consolation, LaCrosse played her way into the field at the season’s first major by climbing to No. 62 on the money list.

Caroline Hedwall came agonizingly close to qualifying. She put herself at the top of the leaderboard early at the Kia Classic and said qualifying for the major was her number one goal for the week. Hedwall, who hadn’t earned any money to start the 2018 season with two missed cuts, needed to earn enough money on Sunday to climb into the top-80 on the Tour’s money list. She started the final round just one-back of the lead but a 73 on Sunday left her in a tie for 14th. She earned $20,863 to sit at No.81 on the money list, one spot shy of qualifying.