By Rhonda Glenn, USGA
NESHANIC STATION, N.J. (June 22, 2012) -– Kyung Kim, 18, of Chandler, Ariz., and Ashlan Ramsey, 16, of Milledgeville, Ga., won semifinal matches Friday and will meet Saturday in the final of the 2012 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship at the 6,221-yard, par-72 Neshanic Valley Golf Course.
Kim defeated Alice Jeong, 17, of Gardena, Calif., 3 and 2, to advance. Ramsey defeated Kim Kaufman, 20, of Clark, S.D., 1 up.
Kim and Ramsey are two young players who have never advanced very far in USGA national championships. Kim’s dreams went no further than getting past the second match-play round because that’s as far as she has ever advanced. Ramsey made it as far as the round of 16 in the 2011 U.S. Girls’ Junior.
“I didn’t know how far I would get this week,” said Ramsey, “but now my goals have changed. I’ll just play my game, fairways and greens.”
When told that Kim had said the same thing about her own plans for the final, Ramsey laughed. “That sounds like Kim,” said Ramsey. “She’s very consistent and a really solid player.”
Kim won the first hole in her match with Jeong. She hit a 5-iron to within 2 feet to birdie the first hole and go 1 up. The match was square at the turn. Kim went 2 up with pars on the 10th and 12th holes. She won the match on the 16th hole with a par.
“This one was tough,” Kim said. “After two matches today I’m pretty tired. My legs are tired and I have two blisters, one on each foot.”
Nicknamed “Radar” because she hits the ball straight, Kim was seven under par for her two matches, with the usual match-play concessions. In the quarterfinal round she defeated Lakaraber Abe, 16, of Angleton, Texas, 1 up, but had to make five birdies and 13 pars to win.
“Both of my opponents were really accurate,” Kim said. “They didn’t make many mistakes, so it was hard to win holes. This afternoon didn’t go as well, but I was able to hit fairways and greens and two-putt. I’m just really excited to be in the final.”
Ramsey defeated Grace Na, 19, of Alameda, Calif., 3 and 1, in the quarterfinal round. With the usual match-play concessions, Ramsey, too, was seven under par on the day.
“I had a few putts hanging on the edge, but I can’t complain,” Ramsey said.
Ramsey made five birdies in her match with Kaufman. She was 1 up going into the par-5 18th. Ramsey hit the green in two, with a 5-wood, some 40 feet from the hole. She lagged her eagle putt to within 7 feet of the hole, knocked it in to win and pumped her fist in delight.
“I was thinking it was about time I made one of those putts,” Ramsey said.
Neither Ramsey nor Kim has yet attended college. Ramsey’s senior year in high school begins in the fall. She has committed to Clemson University’s new women’s golf program in the fall of 2013. Kim attended freshman orientation last week for her first year at the University of Southern California.
They will meet in Saturday’s scheduled 36-hole final, which begins at 8 a.m.