Medalist Gina Kim (Duke University photo)
A bogey-free back nine behind her, Gina Kim was laser-focused, with a win just inches in sight.
After a calm and collected Kim drained her par putt on the par-5 18th at Sedgefield Country Club for the ACC individual title, her teammates rewarded her by disrupting that calm and drowning her in a water bottle shower, cheering, jumping, and hugging their teammate with delight.
The Duke junior put on a marvelous performance to nab the individual title at the 2021 ACC Championship and helped notch the No. 1 team seed for the match play weekend, with Duke finishing 11-under.
Kim’s 54-hole stroke play journey shined bright, with a first-round 68 paved the way for consecutive 69-69s to outlast a field that was well within reach.
Florida State’s Beatrice Wallin posted a 67 in her opening round, tying for the record best before a pair of 71s in the following rounds kept her three strokes behind Kim to finish 7-under.
“Greens were playing tough, so I just tried to do my best to stay patient and take advantage of any opportunity that came my way,” Kim told Duke Athletics after the first round.
She emphasized patience again the next day when she got the job done.
“I made some really smart choices out there and I think that’s what helped me win. I had some luck with it too,” Kim said.
Her short game shined brightest, including a chip for birdie and a hole out for eagle, which was only one of two on her final 18.
Kim gave credit to Augusta’s influence in navigating Sedgefield’s tricky greens.
“I think using some creativity around here was really helpful,” Kim said to Duke Athletics after the victory. “I think coming from ANWA and kind of learning how to use the slopes at Augusta National really helped me over here, too.”
The past few months of her amateur golf career have proven a turning point for the Duke junior. Her first outright amateur win came at the end of 2020 at the Harder Hall Invitational and her T13 finish at the 2021 Augusta National Women’s Amateur aided in showing she could continue staying the course.
In her freshman year, Kim was an integral part of Duke’s seventh national championship. She memorably defeated Stanford’s Albane Valenzuela and Arizona’s Bianca Pandagnan in match play, but ultimately fell to Wake Forest’s Emilia Migliaccio in the final.
Experience triumphs all and with it filling her back pocket, Kim is ready to perform the same old song and dance: this time, more closely aligned with her terms.
The ACC Championship’s first two rounds determine a four-team cut for match play semifinals. Below are the following teams that advanced and their respective matchups:
Duke (1) vs. Virginia (4)
Wake Forest (2) vs. Florida State (3)
Some of the best golf in the country will be found in Sedgefield’s heated match play competition, and Kim Lewellen’s Demon Deacons know a thing or two about winning at Sedgefield. No. 3 Wake Forest is in the mix to defend its 2019 conference title, and with this team led by champion 2019 champion Emilia Migliaccio, expect a team hungry for a back-to-back to make a huge push for championship Sunday.
The final two days of the ACC Championship will tee off at 9 a.m. EST on Saturday, April 17.
ABOUT THE ACC Women's Championship
Match Play Championship with 54-holes of stroke-play
qualifying to determine the low eight teams
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