12 Feb 2021 | National Championships |
Kim's magical run seals #AusAm crown
by Mark Hayes
There’s not much Grace Kim hasn’t done in her amateur career, but today she landed one of the last remaining big fish.
The 20-year-old from Avondale in Sydney added the Australian Amateur crown to the junior national title she won in 2017 when she blew the field away at Kooyonga.
That she started the final day two strokes adrift of Kirsten Rudgeley and finished it with essentially four putts from just behind the 18th green makes her seven-stroke margin even more remarkable.
Kim’s 68 - to finish three under in total - included a run of six birdies in eight holes from the ninth when the tournament was in the balance.
Her explanation is strangely simple, yet completely demoralising for not only her competitors, but also the average club golfer who may never know this feeling, let alone at the crucial time of a national championship.
“I can just see lines to the back of the cup,” confessed Kim, the recently crowned New South Wales Amateur winner and reigning Youth Olympic champion.
“I’m just making sure the speed is right.
“My front nine was pretty steady and then I told my caddie (Craig) I needed to hit more greens and as I did I just boxed more putts, basically a lot of putts on the back nine.
“That last hole probably wrecked my stats, but I am still very happy.
“I really like this place. The fact that I was able to win on this golf course means a lot.”
Rudgeley described Kim’s putting performance as arguably the best she’d seen.
“Grace deserved it, she played awesome,” the talented West Australian said.
“I’ve never seen anyone putt like that before, so it was good to see.”
Rudgeley (+4) ceded her lead when she had a three-putt double-bogey on the fourth green.
The Mount Lawley member hung tough throughout, but simply couldn’t find the magic to go with Kim after she kickstarted her charge with a two-putt birdie on the ninth.
Talented Gold Coaster Hyejun Park (+6) was also handy until Kim’s charge, but she was resigned to third when she took a double-bogey on the 17th.
Young Tasmanian Hallie Meaburn (+8) was also impressive early, and while she fell away with a few late bogeys, can take great pride in her fourth place and taking home the course record – her 67 on Wednesday that offers the promise of big things ahead for the Hobart 17-year-old.
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