Kim's Meal Ticket Includes Trip To Second Round

By Stuart Hall

Carmel, Ind. – With ample time before her late Wednesday afternoon starting time at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, Kimberly Kim indulged herself.

First, the defending champion helped herself to the free breakfast spread at Crooked Stick Golf Club. Later, she came back for the lunch fare.

She then worked up a hearty dinner appetite by outlasting Japanese-born Ayaka Kaneko of Honolulu, Hawaii, 1-up, in the first round of match play. Kim, 15, of Hilo, Hawaii, advances to Thursday’s second round against Rikako Morita, 17, of Japan, an easy 6-and-4 winner over Blair Lamb. Both Morita and Kim competed at the 2006 Women’s World Amateur Team Championship in South Africa.

Ayaka Kaneko came up just short against the defending Women's Amatuer champion. (Steve Gibbons/USGA)

On an afternoon when the mercury was pushing triple digits, Kim labored for the victory. Four times she took a 1-up lead only to have Kaneko square the match. Kim then took her final 1-up lead with a par at the 193-yard, par-3 17th. She won the match by halving the 412-yard, par-4 18th hole.

“My attitude – since I was playing Ayaka – after the first nine holes was if I lose this match, it was a great match,” Kim said. “We both played very well. Even if I won or lost, I couldn’t feel too bad. She shouldn’t feel bad because she played really well.”

Kaneko, though, could take little solace in losing a marquee match that could have easily been played later in the week.

In addition to winning last year’s U.S. Women’s Amateur, Kim was runner-up at the 2006 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links and a quarterfinalist at this year’s U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship, where she dropped a 23-hole thriller to fellow Hawaiian Stephanie Kono.

Kaneko was runner-up at the U.S. Girls’ Junior, advanced to third round of the 2005 U.S. Women’s Amateur and the quarterfinals a year ago.

“I’m very disappointed,” said the 17-year-old Kaneko. “I played solid, but Kim just made more putts. I had some chances, but I couldn’t make any putts.”

Kim, who reached match play with a 2-over 146 qualifying score, was hoping for a match that did not have quite the drama as Wednesday’s opener.

“It’s exhausting,” she said. “I’m like tired. It’s not good to have 18 holes with a late tee time and then wake up early. But we all have to do it, so it’s fair.”

Kim could have helped her own cause, but never quite strung together enough quality holes.

“I would win a hole and then do something stupid,” she said. “I thought the seventh hole was a turning point because I made a birdie and then I hit my drive into the water [at No. 8] and then I hit an iron into the water.

“Then I made birdie at 9 and thought that was a turning point.”

Kim then lost the 502-yard, par-5 11th – a hole that is not one of her favorites – with a par. A birdie won the 418-yard, par-4 14th, but she lost the No. 15 to Kaneko’s birdie.

By the time Kim walked off the 18th green with the sun beginning to set, she was ready for dinner.

“They should make me a takeout lunch box for dinner,” said Kim, though dinner is not served to the players.

At least she can come back Thursday for breakfast.

Stuart Hall is a freelance writer with the Golf Press Association whose work has previously appeared on USGA championship Web sites.

 

 

 

 
Championship Facts

U.S. Women's Amateur

HISTORY:The U.S. 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 Crooked Stick Golf Club will be set at 6,595 yards, par 72.

ARCHITECT: Opened in 1964, the course was designed by Pete Dye. Crooked Stick is hosting its fifth USGA championship. It also hosted the 1991 PGA Championship, won by John Daly, and the 2005 Solheim Cup Matches.

COURSE SETUP
Fairways – Cut to ½ inch
Tees and collars of greens – Cut to 3/8 inch
Putting greens – Prepared to be firm and fast to measure approximately 10 ½ to 11 feet on the USGA Stimpmeter
Intermediate rough – Cut to 1 ½ inches, approximately 6 feet wide along fairways
Primary rough – Cut to 2 ½ to 3 inches
Player courtesy walks – Cut to 1 ½ inches, approximately 6 feet wide
The Championship setup will result in a new USGA Course Rating ™ of 78.8 and a Slope Rating ® of 143.

FORMAT: The Women’s Amateur is conducted with 36 holes of stroke-play qualifying. The low 64 scorers then advance to match play, with the champion determined by a 36-hole match-play final

CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE:

  • Monday, Aug. 6 – First round, stroke play (18 holes)
  • Tuesday, Aug. 7 – 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. 8 – First round, match play (18 holes)
  • Thursday, Aug. 9 – Second round, match play (18 holes). Third round, match play (18 holes)
  • Friday, Aug. 10 – Quarterfinals, match play (18 holes)
  • Saturday, Aug. 11 – Semifinals, match play (18 holes)
  • Sunday, Aug. 12 – Final, match play (36 holes)

 

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