Youth Olympics gold medal and Annika Invitational win for Australian
By Golfer Pacific editor, Paul Gueorgieff
It was a dream finish to 2018 for Australian golfer Grace Kim.
In October of last year she won the gold medal for golf at the Summer Youth Olympics in Argentina. Two months later she put the icing on the 2018 cake when winning the Annika Invitational Australasia in Wellington.
The Wellington event was made all the more memorable for Kim when she scored a 10-under par 62 on the second of the three-day event for girls aged 12-18.
It was a personal best score for Kim and the best score for any of the Annika Invitationals which are also held in the United States, China, Sweden and Argentina.
Kim’s 62 was bogey-free and included eight birdies and an eagle at the Royal Wellington Golf Club at Heretaunga in Upper Hutt.
Kim said it was a round where everything clicked.
“I hit some great shots, made some putts,’’ Kim told Golfer Pacific.
“It all just happened. Whatever I didn’t get on the first day I got on the second day.’’
Kim, who turned 18 the day before the tournament started, won by three shots. She had a three-round total of 202 with scores of 72, 62 and 68. The total was 14 under par.
The win earned her a start in the Annika Invitational in the United States this month. It was to be held at the World Golf Village in Florida from January 18-21.
It was to be Kim’s first golf tournament in the United States although she has been there twice before for a Carrie Webb golf scholarship and an Australian golf training camp.
Kim hopes to take up a professional golf career. She said she would play as many professional events as she can this year to see how she measures up and take it from there.
Kim took up golf as a 10-year-old after becoming tired of following her father around the golf course.
“My dad is a social golfer and I always used to follow him,’’ Kim explained.
“Eventually I got bored and next thing dad has got me a set of clubs and I said, okay, I’ll give it a try.’’
The Wellington tournament featured a golf clinic by former golfing great Annika Sorenstam who started the tournaments 10 years ago to inspire young women golfers.
At the clinic Sorenstam emphasised the need to have a positive frame of mind and to remember the good shots rather than the bad shots.
Kim picked up on the advice immediately.
“When I would finish a round I would always bring up the negatives — how I missed this putt and that putt,’’ she said.
“But now I’m going to talk about the positives.’’
The top three players gained starts in Sorenstam’s tournament in Florida. Second was Yuka Saso from The Phillipines and third was another Australian, Doey Choi.
Saso, who was the first round leader, had a 11-under total of 205 with scores of 65, 70 and 70.
Choi had rounds of 69, 70 and 71 for a total of 210.
One shot back in equal fourth on 211 were two New Zealanders and an Australian. The New Zealanders were Dare Chung from Wellington and Carmen Li from Auckland.