MANSFIELD, Texas (April 20, 2008)--Michael Kim of Del Mar, Calif., shot a final round of 4-over-par 74 to earn medalist honors by three shots in the Boys Division with a tournament total of 70-74-144 at the Medicus Preseason Junior at Walnut Creek. Amanda Baker of Nanaimo, British Columbia cruised to a seven-shot victory, finishing at 13-over-par 153.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Medicus Preseason Junior at Walnut Creek was a 36-hole stroke play event held at Walnut Creek Country Club's Pecan Course. The tournament field consisted of 53 boys and 24 girls, ages 12-18, from 23 states and Canada. The Boys Division played the par-70 course at 6,396 yards, while the Girls Division played at 5,693 yards.
Kim was one shot off the lead following Saturday's first round, but worked in some last-minute putting practice to help his consistency in Sunday's final round. Kim started off with a bogey, but rebounded quickly with birdies on Nos. 3 and 4. After playing a safe drive on No. 4, Kim hit his 4-iron approach to three inches of the hole and tapped in for birdie.
“I knew today was going to be a tough round, but I knew I needed to trust my instincts and grind it out,” Kim said. “I focused on playing consistently and shooting for par. Birdies were an added bonus.”
Finishing in second was Alexander Gutesha of Greenwood Village, Colo., at 7-over-par 147. Four shots behind Kim, tied for third with a 36-hole score of 148, were Nick Tremps of San Antonio, Brian Jung of Maple Ridge, British Columbia, and Logan Waresback of Edmond, Okla.
In the Girls Division, Baker increased her first-round lead by five and finished the final round 8-over-par 78. After losing in a playoff and barely missing the cut at a qualifier for the U.S. Girls Junior Championship last year, Baker credited her driving and mental game as keys to her success today and ongoing goal to qualify for the U.S. Girls Junior Championship this year.
“After a pretty rough ninth hole I really wanted to make birdie,” Baker said. “I regrouped and eventually made birdie on No. 10. I focused on keeping the ball in the fairway and two-putting. The course played really hard today. I'm proud of how I played.”
Finishing in second was Tarah Taylor of Mission Viejo, Calif., with a tournament total of 20-over-par 160. One shot behind Taylor was Avery Sills of Portland, Ore., with a 21-over-par 161.