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Auston Kim, Kristen Gillman turn big Sundays into LPGA cards at Epson finale

Auston Kim knew she needed a big week.

For Kristen Gillman, it was two big holes.

Kim won the Epson Tour Championship on Sunday at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Florida, to earn $37,500 and vault to third on the final money list, earning one of 10 LPGA cards up for grabs. Gillman, meanwhile, capped a closing 8-under 64 with a birdie-eagle finish to tie for fourth and secure the final card by $1,700 over Becca Huffer.

“The only thing that I can think of is that the real work starts now,” said Kim, a Vanderbilt grad. “I’m really proud of this win, and this win was a really big step in the right direction. It’s what I’ve been working for all year, and now my goals have changed. I don’t want to set any high expectations for myself, but I know what my goals are. I know that I’m really excited for next year, and I cannot wait to compete against the best.”

Gillman, a two-time U.S. Women’s Amateur champ who played collegiately at Alabama, looked at the leaderboard after 16 holes and had a feeling she needed three more shots coming in if she wanted to get back to the LPGA, where she played from 2019 to last year, when she made only eight starts.

“Just kind of went after the pins,” said Gillman, who hit her second shot at the last to 5 feet.

“Excited to get back out there,” Gillman added. “I feel like my game has improved a lot and I’ve learned a lot as a player, so I’m excited to go out there and kind of put into play what I learned and see how it compares against them again.”

Here are the 10 players who graduated to the LPGA on Sunday:

  • Gabriela Ruffels
  • Natasha Andrea Oon
  • Auston Kim
  • Jiwon Jeon
  • Minji Kang
  • Agathe Laisne
  • Jenny Coleman
  • Roberta Liti
  • Isabella Fierro
  • Kristen Gillman