19 Jan 2021 | Amateur golf |
Augusta dream beckons Kim
by Kirsty Wrice
Only the world’s elite will know the euphoria of playing Augusta National.
Grace Kim will soon live every golfer’s dream and become one of those.
Last year Kim experienced the excitement of being personally invited to play in the second edition of the Augusta Women’s Amateur only to have the event cancelled because of Covid-19.
But with the golf world slowly returning to a new ‘normal’, the 20-year-old was ecstatic when the pantone green invitation turned up on her doorstep again.
“I saw a notification come up on my phone about a delivery coming. I hadn’t ordered anything but shoes and they shouldn’t be coming now,” Kim recalled on receiving the envelope.
“Then I looked and saw it was coming from Augusta.
“When I got home, same thing as last year - that excited pre-packaging moment, opening the cardboard envelope, then it was there, the green envelope. I was really excited.
“It’s definitely a big, big achievement and milestone for me. Not everyone gets to play and I know how precious and special this opportunity is.”
But with travel restrictions and the nature of the pandemic constantly changing, she recognises her biggest obstacle will be first making it to Georgia. Kim had been scheduled to take up her prize as a Karrie Webb Scholarship winner late last year but again had to forgo her trip.
“I haven’t fully looked into it, but it’s through the Australian Government and getting an approval letter, then just waiting… I’m not too sure how long the wait is but I have to hope for the best.
“I know I missed out on a lot (in 2020), but there’s a lot of people who missed out as well.
“It was a bummer to miss the America trip with the Karrie Webb Series, it looked like the girls had fun.”
Despite the setbacks, the Avondale star kept herself busy winning the NSW Amateur, Avondale Amateur and both pennant and the Eric Apperly Shield for her club which she counts as “up there in highlights for the year”.
Next month’s Australian Amateur at Kooyonga will be her first tournament back to competitive golf and she is incredibly eager - provided she can cross the border first.
“The only issue (stopping me from going) would be the borders, anything else I will definitely play,” said Kim of Adelaide, where she would take up the mantle as the highest ranked female.
“I tried hard last year to get to the finals where I just fell short.
“I am really looking forward to it and I understand international players won’t be able to play but it’s still good enough to claim. Having that Aussie title would be great.”
Kim is acutely aware of the significance of her return, with the intention of it being her last Aussie Amateur before taking the professional plunge.
“I would have to consider it like that.”
“Obviously, I am quite keen to turn professional and start earning cash, travel the world, play different tournaments.”
“I do have plans to play LPGA Q-school this year in America.”
Oh, and if you’re thinking about sending Grace a wish list of merchandise, get in line.
“I think I’ve lost the list so I don’t have to buy anything,” she said with a laugh.
“Literally everyone has been like ‘bring me back something’, ‘take me as a caddy’…. I’ll probably use a local caddy because they know the area. With the merch, I’ll see about my luggage!”
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