Gina Kim (USGA/Darren Carroll)
The lasting image from Friday’s second round of the U.S. Women’s Open will be of a hefty lightning bolt striking and sizzling a tree just off No. 11 green at the Country Club of Charleston (S.C.). Luckily, it happened while play was suspended mid-day for weather. Players were off the golf course long enough, however, for the second round to bleed into Saturday.
Among the few conclusions that could be drawn from Friday’s shortened round, however, were that Gina Kim is keeping pace. The Duke freshman holed out for eagle on the par-4 eighth in the opening round on the way to a 5-under 66. She was one off the lead after 18 holes, and is currently two off the pace after a second-round 1-over 72.
Kim is tied with Celine Boutier, a former Duke player herself who was on the 2014 Blue Devil national title team, but is the low amateur by three shots so far.
Kim, 19, a rising sophomore at Duke University who helped the Blue Devils win the NCAA team title two weeks ago, matched the second-lowest 36-hole total for an amateur in Women’s Open history. Grace Park (total of 137 in 1999) was one stroke better and Hye-Jin Choi also shot 138 for 36 holes in 2017 on the way to a solo runner-up finish to Sung Hyun Park. Kim cited her ball-striking as the key to her performance.
“I think that’s been one of my biggest strengths these days,” said Kim. “I’ve definitely made birdies because I've stuck it very close. I'm feeling really good about where I am right now. Clearly, my scores are doing well, and so hopefully I can keep that going for the rest of the weekend.”
Stanford junior Andrea Lee followed an opening 69 with 72 on Friday as well.
As it stands, only three more amateurs are currently above the cut line, but there is still considerable golf to finish in the second round.
USC’s Jennifer Chang, Alabama’s Jiwon Jeon and 16-year-old Rose Zhang are all at 3 over, and have all finished their second round.
Information from the USGA used in this report.
ABOUT THE U.S. Women's Open
The U.S. Women's Open is the biggest tournament in
women's golf and one of 14 national
championships conducted by the USGA. The
event is open to any female who has a USGA
Handicap Index not exceeding 4.4.
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