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USGA Women's Am: Another Young Hawaiian In Spotlight

North Plains, Ore. – Kimberly Kim, a laid-back 14 year old from Hilo, Hawaii, became the youngest finalist in the 111-year history of the U.S. Women’s Amateur when she won her semifinal match Saturday at the 6,380-yard, par 71 Witch Hollow Course of Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club.

Kim defeated Lindy Duncan, 15, of Plantation, Fla., 1 up, after both players birdied the 18th hole. Kim edges the previous youngest finalist, Peggy Shane Conley, who was 16 in 1963. She will play for the championship Sunday against Katharina Schallenberg, 26, of Germany, who defeated Stacy Lewis, 21, of The Woodlands, Texas, on the 19th hole.

“I feel proud of it,” said Kim about being the youngest finalist. “It feels good.”


About defeating her 15-year-old opponent, Kim said, “It was like, she’s 15, I’m 14. So, like, if I lost to some 20-year-old, it would be like, 'Oh, she’s just 14.' But she was 15, so I really wanted to win.”


Schallenberg, the German Women’s Amateur champion, never trailed in her match with Lewis. She was 1 up as late as the 13th hole, but Lewis squared the match with a par on the 14th. The two halved the last four holes before Schallenberg prevailed with a par on the first extra hole after Lewis was unable to get up and down from a greenside bunker.

Schallenberg said she has never faced an opponent as young as the 14 year old she will play in the final. “There are a couple of good teenagers in Germany, too, but I guess they are not as good as Kimberly is,” she said.

Katharina Schallenberg, chipping toward the sixth green Saturday, said she's interested in seeing her final opponent, Kimberly Kim, play. (Steve Gibbons/USGA)

The final is scheduled for 36 holes, and Schallenberg has never played such a long match. Kim played in the 36-hole final of the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links in June, losing 6 and 5 to Tiffany Joh. Kim also played 36 holes on Sunday of the Women’s Open at Newport Country Club in July.

The match between Kim and Duncan was a battle. Kim went 2 up at the fourth hole with a par, but Duncan won the fifth when Kim three-putted. Never again was the margin between the two players more than one hole.

With Kim 1 up, Duncan holed her bunker shot on the 13th hole to square the match. At the 405-yard, par-4 16th, Kim fired at the flagstick which perched just beyond a bunker and made a birdie putt of less than three feet to again go 1 up. The two halved the 17th with pars.

At the par-5 18th, Duncan hit her lob wedge to within 8 feet of the hole on her third shot. Kim was just short of the green in two strokes and chipped to within 3 ½ feet. Duncan made the birdie putt.

Kim said she was thinking, “'Oh my gosh, she made her putt.' It was like, 'I can do it. I can do it.'” And she did, sinking her short birdie putt to halve the hole and win the match.

Kim, who also competed in the U.S. Women’s Open, Women’s Amateur Public Links and U.S. Girls’ Junior, said she didn’t know the stature of the Women’s Amateur Championship until watching a replay of the television broadcast last night.

“I didn’t know it was that big of a tournament until last night on the Golf Channel,” she said. “It had its own commercial. I went, 'Wow, this is a huge tournament.'”

Schallenberg said she was playing small regional tournaments when she was 14 and looks forward to facing her younger opponent in the final.

“She’s another player I have to play against and I have to stick to my routine and my strategy,” said Schallenberg. “But I’m curious to see how she’s playing and how she’s handling everything, because I hadn’t competed in big tournaments at that age.”

The Women’s Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted by the United States Golf Association. Ten are strictly for amateurs.

Story written by Rhonda Glenn, Manager of USGA Communications. E-mail her with questions or comments at rglenn@usga.org.

Results

North Plains, Ore. – Results from the semifinal round of match play Saturday in the United States Women’s Amateur Championship at the 6,380-yard, par-71 Witch Hollow Course of Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club.

Semi Finals

Upper Bracket

Katharina Schallenberg, Germany (143) def. Stacy Lewis, The Woodlands, Texas (148), 19 holes

Lower Bracket

Kimberly Kim, Hilo, Hawaii (146) def. Lindy Duncan, Plantation, Fla. (144), 1 up

Pairing

North Plains, Ore. – Pairing for Sunday’s championship final in the United States Women’s Amateur Championship at the 6,380-yard, par-71 Witch Hollow Course of Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club.

9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Katharina Schallenberg, Germany (143) vs. Kimberly Kim, Hilo, Hawaii (146)

ABOUT THE U.S. Women's Amateur

The U.S. Women's Amateur, the third oldest of the USGA championships, was first played in 1895 at Meadowbrook Club in Hempstead, N.Y. The event is open to any female amateur who has a USGA Handicap Index not exceeding 5.4. The Women's Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

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