The 24 rookies that compose the 2003 class are a mixture of world talent as they represent 11 different countries: Brazil, Chile, Denmark, England, France, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Norway, Spain and the United States. Christina Kim and Lorena Ochoa earned their 2003 LPGA Tour cards by finishing in the top three on the 2002 Futures Tour money list, while the remaining 22 rookies earned their cards at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament in October 2002.
This is the first in a series of brief snapshots of the members of the 2003 LPGA Tour rookie class; players are listed in alphabetical order.
Raquel Carriedo, Spain ' Carriedo may be listed as a rookie, but the Zaragoza, Spain, native is nothing new to the world of highly competitive golf. She has twice played for the European Solheim Cup Team (2000, 2002) and finished fourth at the 2002 U.S. Womens Open after a final-round 66. In 2001, she won the Ladies European Tour (LET) money list on the strength of three victories. Carriedo earned exempt status for the 2003 LPGA Tour after she tied for 10th at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament. In her spare time, she enjoys playing the piano and participating in a variety of sports.
Kimberly Freeman, United States ' A member of the LPGA Teaching and Club Professional Division Division, Freeman won the 2002 Wisconsin State Womens Open. For 2003, she is a non-exempt player after finishing tied for 42nd at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament. Freeman, who qualified for the tour on her ninth attempt, is as active off the golf course as she is on it. She enjoys cooking, needlepoint, deep-sea fishing and growing roses.
Candy Hannemann, Brazil ' A decorated amateur career should help Hannemann adjust quickly to competition on the Tour in 2003. A member of the Duke University womens golf team that won NCAA team championship from 1999-2002, Hannemann won the NCAA individual title in 2001. Upon turning professional, she played eight events on the Futures Tour in 2002 and finished in the top 10 on five occasions. Hannemanns status is nonexempt for 2003 after she tied for 59th at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament. She enjoys dancing, horseback riding and, like most 22-year-olds, a relaxing day at the beach.
Karine Icher, France ' A member of the 2002 European Solheim Cup team, Icher earned non-exempt status for the 2003 Tour after she tied for 39th at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament. In 2002, she won the LETs Caja Duerno Open de Espana Femenino and finished in a tie for seventh at the Evian Masters. Icher relaxes off the course by taking in a movie, hanging out with her friends or shopping.
Linda Ishii, Japan ' Born in Chiba, Japan, Ishii attended and graduated from the University of Southern California in 2000 with a degree in International Relations. Ishii posted two wins on the Futures Tour in 2002 and tied for 59th at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament to earn non-exempt status for the 2003 Tour. While not on the course, you might catch this movie buff at the cinema. She also has an affinity for shopping and skiing.
Angela Jerman, United States ' A Denver native who now calls Columbus, Ga., home, Jerman parlayed a successful amateur career into exempt status for the 2003 Tour after she tied for seventh at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament. Jerman, who is a 2002 graduate from the University of Georgia with a marketing degree, was a four-time All-SEC Team selection and a three-time American Junior Golf Association Rolex Junior All-America selection. She enjoys reading, racquetball, tennis and, of course, taking in a University of Georgia football game. At the 2002 U.S. Womens Open, Jerman earned low amateur honors when she tied for 51st place.
Jimin Kang, Korea ' Kang is one of seven Korean rookies to make her debut on the 2003 Tour. While at Arizona State University in 2002, she won the PAC-10 Championship and was a National Golf Coaches Association First-Team All-American. She turned professional in July 2002 and joined the Futures Tour, where she won the M&T Bank Loretto Futures Golf Classic. Kang qualified for the Tour on her first attempt, tying for 24th at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament to gain non-exempt status. Kang enjoys playing with her dog Angel, playing the flute and jogging.
Christina Kim, United States ' The youngest rookie on Tour by 15 days, Kim will not turn 19 until March 15. She may be young in age, but Kim knows a thing or two about swinging a golf club. She earned exempt status for the 2003 Tour by finishing second on the Futures Tour money list on the strength of one win and 11 additional top-10 finishes. In addition, Kim holds the United States Golf Association record for lowest 18-hole score in a USGA competition with an 8-under-par 62 in the 2001 U.S. Girls Junior Championship. Kim practices yoga and, among other things, enjoys reading, writing and studying history.