Colorado Public Links Championship: Kim Victorious
19 Jun 2011

COMMERCE CITY, CO (June 19, 2011) -- C.J. Kim wasn’t aware of the circumstances. All he knew was that in the first CGA championship he ever entered, he ended up with the trophy.

The University of Denver golfer won the CGA Public Links Championship by one stroke on Sunday after his two closest competitors were each assessed a one-shot penalty for slow play. So instead of playing off for the title, Kim claimed the trophy outright at Buffalo Run Golf Course in Commerce City.

Kim, a two-time Arizona state high school champion, trailed by five strokes entering the final round and started his day with a triple bogey. But he rallied for the victory with a 2-under-par 70 on Sunday, which gave him a 6-under 210 total.

University of Colorado golfer Derek Fribbs, who went into the day with a three-stroke advantage, and Colorado State’s Zahkai Brown held the lead for much of the day, but over-par rounds, combined with receiving the one-shot penalties for slow play, left them in second and third place, respectively. Fribbs (76-211) ended up a stroke behind Kim and Brown (74-212) was another shot back.

Fribbs, Brown and James Kurtenbach were in the final group of the day, and they had to wait an estimated 10-15 minutes on the 11th hole when the group ahead (Charles Chon, Kim and Jonathan Park) lost a ball and had another ruling on the hole. From there, though, the two threesomes quickly separated and by the time Fribbs, Brown and Kurtenbach finished the 13th hole, they were given a warning that they were falling too far behind and had until the end of the round to get back on pace.

Though the final threesome made up a little time in the final five holes, they still finished 18 minutes behind the previous group -- three minutes more than is allowed. They also could have avoided the slow-play penalty by completing the round in the 4 hours and 39 minutes the CGA allotted to all the competitors, but they were about 10 minutes over that time.

Pete Lis, CGA director of rules and competitions, spoke with the threesome as they came off the green, then assessed the one-stroke penalty to each of the three players.

“I understand they were going for the championship, but they’re held to the same standard as every other group out there,” Lis said. “We can’t single them out. They didn’t make up a sufficient amount of time to warrant waiving the penalty.”

Still, that didn’t make assessing the penalties any easier for Lis.

“In all my years of golf administration, that was probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do,” he said. “I had no idea what the outcome was when I talked to the group and I determined the penalty did need to be applied. But after I found out Derek lost by one, that hit the gut pretty hard.”

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