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Purdue senior and St. Augustine, Florida native August Kim is returning to the U.S. Women’s Amateur

Younger sister Auston and oldest sister and top medalist, August Kim, pose after the U.S. Women's Amateur Sectional Qualifying event at Hawk Pointe Golf Club in Washington, New Jersey Wednesday (Courtesy Lou Monaco)

Younger sister Auston and oldest sister and top medalist, August Kim, pose after the U.S. Women’s Amateur Sectional Qualifying event at Hawk Pointe Golf Club in Washington, New Jersey Wednesday (Courtesy Lou Monaco)

 

20-year-old August Kim shot a 3-under 69, one shot ahead of three other golfers, to earn top medalist honors at Wednesday’s U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship Sectional Qualifying Round at Hawk Pointe Golf Club in Washington, New Jersey.

57 golfers competed in the 18-hole event for five spots with two alternates and a coveted spot in the 51st U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship to be played at Rolling Green Golf Club in Springfield, Pennsylvania on August 1-7.

Isabella Fierro, a 15-year-old from Merida, Mexico; Alessandra Liu, a recent graduate of William & Mary from Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania; and Kelly Whaley of Cromwell, Conecuticut, daughter of famed golf instructor Suzy Whaley (current secretary of the PGA of America) finished one stroke back at 2-under 70.

A playoff ensued for the fifth and final qualifying spot between two golfers who shot 1-under 71: Jackie Rogowicz of Yardley, Pennsylvania and Cristina Parsells of Bernardsville, New Jersey, who captured the NJSGA Junior Girls championship in 2014.

Rogowicz, a sophomore at Penn State who played in the U.S. Women’s Amateur in 2014, won the spot with a par on the third playoff hole: the par-3, 130-yard ninth hole. Kelly Sim of Edgewater, New Jersey, the two-time and defending New Jersey scholastic champion, earned the second alternate with a birdie on the first playoff hole in a playoff among four who shot even-par 72, including Stewartsville, New Jersey native Allyson Wentworth.

Starting from the 10th tee and with four inches of rain soaking the course overnight, Kim shot an even-par 36, on the front nine with a bogey on the 12th hole, but bounced back with a birdie on the par-4, 363-yard 14thhole to tie for seventh place heading to the back nine.

Kim then took over with birdies on the third, fifth, and seventh holes to make her second U.S. Women’s Amateur appearance since 2014.

“I tried to stay patient all day and stayed calm, I knew there were birdies out there. It took me a couple of holes to get used to the greens and the course played pretty tough. I sank a couple of good putts and got up and down a couple of times toward the end and that really helped,” Kim said. “The first couple of holes were pretty soaked and it started to dry out as the day went on.”

Kim is having a great month and a half, having recorded her first career hole-in-one last week at the 116thWomen’s Western Golf Association Amateur National Championship at Dayton Country Club in Dayton, Ohio and having won the 2016 Big Ten Championship, setting the tournament record for 54 holes at nine-under 207, highlighted by a final-round, five-under 67 to  tie for the 12th-lowest round in program history, and her 207 matched the second-best 54-hole score all-time at Purdue.

Kim also tied for 32nd at the NCAA Championships, finishing three-over 291, highlighted by an opening-round 68, which tied for the second-best round ever by a Boilermaker at the national tournament.

“I learned a lot during my first time at the U.S. Amateur. It was held at Nassau Country Club on Long Island, 20 minutes from where I grew up, so that was a lot of fun especially before we moved down to Florida,” Kim said. “I made it to match-play and I think I lost to the second seed, but I think I’m ready to further advance in the tournament and the Western Amateur I just played in, it’s the same format, so I think that will help a lot.”

Auston Kim, the 15-year-old soon-to-be junior at Allen D. Nease High School in St. Augustine and younger sister of August, also participated and shot a 3-over 75 (tying for 22nd place), highlighted by two birdies on the 13th and 15th holes.

“I tried last year and didn’t go as well as it did this year. I improved a lot from when I tried out last year,” the younger Kim said.

Auston is also having a tremendous summer of her own.

Just 16 days ago, Kim posted a 1-under-par 71 to earn medalist honors at a U.S. Girls’ Junior Amateur Qualifier at Cartersville Country Club in Cartersville, Georgia on June 13th to qualify for the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship, which will be held at The Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, New Jersey July 18-23.

Earlier this month, she also clinched medalist honors (71-68–139) and a berth in the 41st Junior PGA Championship at Wannamoisett Country Club in Providence, Rhode Island August 9-12 after capturing the first event of the PGA Jr. Series at the Ryder course at PGA Club in Port St. Lucie on June 5th.

“This summer has been great. I qualified for two fantastic tournaments that I’m really excited about and I have played my best rounds a couple of weeks ago, so I’m very excited to see what I can do,” Kim said. “I’m still happy with the score I shot today and my play has been more solid and consistent than when I played last year. I’m just looking to improve each time I go out.”

Her oldest sister agrees.

“I love it that she is out here with me. It’s so fun to play out here with her. I got home from school and she was hitting it past me. She has definitely improved from last year and is playing some pretty good golf.”

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