Notebook: Kim Enjoying American Culture

By Ken Klavon, USGA

North Plains, Ore. – A little more than a year ago, In-Kyung Kim sashayed into the U.S. Girls’ Junior media center after winning the championship and had trouble making sense of the questions being asked of her.

The Korean-born Kim could recite little more than the lyrics to 50 Cent’s “Candy Shop” then. What a difference a year makes. The reserved Kim still struggles with her English, but she’s made a concerted effort to learn the language.

In-Kyung Kim is much more comfortable in America since winning the 2005 U.S. Girls' Junior in Idaho. (USGA photo archives)

“I have lots of friends, many friends and I’m better now,” she said after posting a 1-under 70 Monday at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club's Witch Hollow Course that put her in a tie for fourth after the first round of stroke-play qualifying for the 2006 U.S. Women's Amateur. “I’m trying to learn by text messaging” on her cell phone.

Living now with an uncle in Marriottsville, Md., she has also adapted to American cuisine, citing pizza as a favorite but inexplicably denouncing french fries. She scrunched up her face when the mention of an American staple was brought up.

Traveling has had the greatest impact. Last week’s American Junior Golf Association's Canon Cup at Conway Farms in suburban Chicago made an impression on her, calling it one of her favorite places to visit so far.

Last year she made it to the quarterfinals in the Women’s Amateur after carving out medalist honors. She played in this year’s U.S. Women’s Open at Newport (R.I.) Country Club, failing to go beyond the second round after shooting 12 over. But it’s the Girls’ Junior that put her name on the map in America.

“Players recognize me. I’ve met other people. They like talking to me,” said Kim, comically pointing out that she’s “not a star.”

One part of her routine hasn’t changed. She still calls her father back in Korea, as he is a fervent follower of her career. In fact, prior to talking to a reporter she had just hung up with him, glowing in his praise to play well again Tuesday.

Sometimes old habits are hard to break.

Avenging Herself

Margaret Shirley could breathe easier when she walked off the course Monday. After last year’s self-professed debacle at Ansley Golf Club in Roswell, Ga., just six miles from her home, she was pleased to hold a share of the first-round lead.

Margaret Shirley exorcised some demons from 2005 with her 69 on Monday at Pumpkin Ridge. (USGA photo archives)

Last year she followed up a first-day 73 with a horrific 89 to naturally miss the cut. Monday’s 69 exorcised any lingering fears.

“It’s better than being six miles from my house last year,” said Shirley, a round of 16 qualifier in 2004. “The hometown pressure got to me.”

The middle child of a golf course superintendent, the 20-year-old Shirley is no slouch. Recently she won the Georgia Women’s Open and achieved All-Southeastern Conference second-team honors in her sophomore year at Auburn University.

This week her 14-year-old sister, Laura, is on her bag. On one hand, it’s made it easier to continue a longtime superstition of having to talk to her each night before she plays. But on the other, she wouldn’t say that little sis is exactly savvy when it comes to club selection and reading greens.

“I’m glad we didn’t get into a fistfight,” said Shirley. “She’s 14; we’ll have our occasional quarrel every now and then.”

How’d He Get In?

While on the topic of caddies, Ryan Svenson of nearby Scappoose, Ore., is a rarity this week. As far as the club knows, he’s the only non-member or non-family member to be looping for a player.

The genial Svenson coaches basketball, football and girls golf at Scappoose High School. He’s on the bag of 20-year-old Annie Giangrosso, who plays at the University of Kansas.

“It’s been real fun,” said Svenson, impressed at the quality of play.

This isn’t the first caddie gig for Svenson, who admitted he does little more than lug around Giangrosso’s clubs. He said he recently caddied for former National Basketball Association players Charles Barkley and Clyde Drexler in a pro-am event.

“Barkley’s horrible,” he said laughing. “He was all over the place.”

Svenson doesn’t expect to be invited to any of Barkley’s soirees in the future.

Eagle Time

Nineteen-year-old Lauren Hunt shot 5-over 76 Monday, helped by an eagle on Witch Hollow Course’s longest par 5, the 562-yard seventh hole. With 95 yards to the flagstick, she grabbed a gap wedge and watched as the ball hopped once and disappeared into its destination.  

Good Start

Current U.S. Girls’ Junior champion Jenny Shin, 13, seemed pleased with her 2-over-par 73. The course’s difficulty wasn’t lost on her, though.

“It was taxing,” said the freshman-to-be at Torrance (Calif.) High School. “It was tough.”

And the last reigning Girls’ Junior champion to make it into match play would be? In-Kyung Kim, last year’s Women's Amateur medalist.

Hanging In There

MacKinzie Kline, 14, won’t let her 12-over 83 deter her from coming back and trying again Tuesday. Kline was granted permission to use a cart this week because of a congenial heart condition. She takes oxygen between holes and sometimes between shots.

“I definitely play very well,” she said, finding that she needed to hit woods more often than she would have liked.

According to her Web site, Kline has what is described as Single Ventricle with transposition of the greater vessels. Her liver is transverse, meaning it is on the left side of her body. She also has aspleenia, which means she was born without a spleen. Oxygenated blood from the lung flows in the wrong direction, causing poor oxygenation to the body. She underwent two open-heart surgeries by the time she turned 2. She is scheduled to undergo a non-invasive procedure immediately after the Women’s Amateur.

Ken Klavon is the USGA's Web Editor. E-mail him with questions or comments at kklavon@usga.org.

 

 

 
Championship Facts

U.S. Women's Amateur

HISTORY: The United States Women’s Amateur is one of the United States Golf Association’s original three championships. It was first conducted in 1895, shortly after the inaugural U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open. The Women’s Amateur has since been conducted every year except 1917-18, when it was temporarily suspended because of World War I, and 1942-45, when it was suspended because of World War II.

PAR & YARDAGE: Yardage for the Witch Hollow course of Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club will be set at 3,325-3,055/3091 – 6,380/6,416, par 71. The par-3 tenth hole can be played from one of two yardages, 158 yards or 194 yards, which accounts for the differing total yardages.

USGA COURSE RATING™ AND SLOPE RATING® — The USGA Course Rating for Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club at 6,380 yards is 79.1; Slope Rating is 148. At 6,416 yards, the Course Rating is 79.3; Slope Rating is 149.

ARCHITECT: The Witch Hollow course at Pumpkin Ridge was designed by golf architect Bob Cupp and opened in 1992.

CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE:

Monday, Aug. 7 – First round, stroke play (18 holes)
Tuesday, Aug. 8 – Second round, stroke play (18 holes). After conclusion of the 36 holes, the field will be cut to the low 64 scorers, who will advance to match play.
Wednesday, Aug. 9 – First round, match play (18 holes)
Thursday, Aug. 10 – Second round, match play (18 holes); Third round, match play (18 holes)
Friday, Aug. 11 – Quarterfinals, match play (18 holes)
Saturday, Aug. 12 – Semifinals, match play (18 holes)
Sunday, Aug. 13 – Final, match play (36 holes)

TELEVISION COVERAGE: Television coverage of the championship begins with the first round of match play on The Golf Channel.

Aug. 9 – First Round 7 - 9 p.m.
Aug. 10 – Second and Third Rounds 7 - 9 p.m.
Aug. 11 – Quarterfinals 7 - 9 p.m.
Aug. 12 – Semifinals 7 - 9 p.m.
Aug. 13 – Final 7 - 9 p.m.

WHO CAN ENTER: The championship is open to female amateurs who have USGA handicap indexes not exceeding 5.4.

ENTRIES: When entries closed June 21, a record 969 contestants had entered the championship. The previous record entry was 873 in 2005.

 

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