Gina Kim (USGA/Chris Keane)
In the end, a Duke player didn’t go home with the U.S. Women’s Open trophy or the $1 million first-place prize even though two such players shared the lead entering Sunday’s final round at the Country Club of Charleston (S.C.). A Blue Devil did, however, claim low-amateur honors. That was Gina Kim, the freshman who just two weeks ago helped Duke to its seventh national title in women’s golf.
Kim made headlines with an opening round of 5-under 66 that left her one shot off the lead. She followed with rounds of 72-73-72 for a 1-under total that left her tied for 12th and five shots behind winner Jeongeun Lee6.
“I honestly didn't expect this,” Kim said at the end of the day on Sunday. “If I've got to be 100 percent honest, I was just trying to make the cut and make it to the weekend. So finishing out as low am is definitely a testament to the amount of support I've got, the amount of work I've put in, and just I guess how much I've matured as a person and as a player.”
ROUND THREE UPDATE
It’s a Duke takeover through three rounds of the U.S. Women’s Open, and a Blue Devil amateur is holding her own in all of that.
Duke alum Celine Boutier and Yu Liu, both members of the 2014 national-title squad, will meet in the final pairing on Sunday. Both are tied for the lead at the Country Club of Charleston (S.C.) after getting to 7 under on the Seth Raynor design.
Though she lost some ground on Sunday with a 2-over 73, current Duke player Gina Kim is just five shots back (2 under) and in a tie for 12th. Kim helped the Blue Devils to their most recent national title last week. She opened Women’s Open week with a 5-under 66 that had her one shot off the lead.
Kim has said twice this week that she feels she belongs on this stage. She also qualified for last year’s U.S. Women’s Open, but missed the cut.
“My mindset on how much I belong here really hasn't changed,” Kim said on Friday evening. “I guess today was kind of a testament to that, seeing how people were finally showing interest and some attention after I've managed to do something crazy yesterday. But being able to kind of play some solid golf and shoot a consistent round, I think it definitely proved that, you know, I'm definitely ready to be out here.”
That doesn’t diminish her love for college golf, however. She’s love to get her degree, she says. Kim also thinks that college has helped her mature as a person.
Behind Kim, amateurs Rose Zhang, 16, and USC’s Jennifer Chang are tied for 45th at 4 over. Alabama transfer Jiwon Jeon had a third-round 74 and is T-63 at 6 over.
The remaining amateur, Stanford junior Andrea Lee, tumbled down the leaderboard after a third-round 79 that included a one-shot slow-play penalty. Rounds stretched to six hours across the field on Saturday, but Lee was the only player to receive a penalty.
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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