U.S. WOMEN'S AMATEUR
Hilo's Kimberly Kim teed off on the third hole at the U.S. Women's Amateur yesterday in North Plains, Ore.
Kim reaches semis
The golfer from Hilo wins her quarterfinals match 3 and 1, while Honolulu's Keneko falls
NORTH PLAINS, Ore. » Former Hilo resident Kimberly Kim, the youngest player still in the U.S. Women's Amateur at 14, came from behind to beat Colombian Eileen Vargas 3 and 1 in the quarterfinals yesterday.
How the players with local connections fared in yesterday's quarterinals:
» Hilo's Kimberly Kim defeated Eileen Vargas 3 and 1 to reach the semifinals
» Honolulu's Ayaka Kaneko fell to Stacy Lewis 6 and 4
» Kim vs. Lindy Duncan
» Lewis vs. Katharina Schallenberg
Ayaka Kaneko of Honolulu was not as fortunate, falling to Stacy Lewis 6 and 4.
Despite sleeping in until about 11 a.m., Kim struggled with fatigue early in her match. A pep talk by her caddie -- Frank Nau, who works as a caddie at Pumpkin Ridge -- got her back in it.
"He told me to just keep trying," Kim said of the talk after hole No. 8, when Kim was 1-down. "I stopped thinking about mechanics and just swung it."
Kim took control by winning three holes in a row, the 13th through 15th, halving No. 16 and then winning the 17th to end the match.
"Everything was working pretty good for me," Kim said. "It's a pretty tough course, narrow, the greens are hilly and there are lots of obstacles."
Kim, who turns 15 on Aug. 23, was the runner-up at the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links and was the youngest to make the cut at the U.S. Women's Open. Kim, a former Waiakea High student, lives with her mother in Arizona so she can commute to more tournaments.
Today she plays Lindsey Duncan, who defeated Jennie Arseneault, a soon-to-be sophomore at Virginia, by winning the 19th hole.
"Jenny played really well. I was just lucky to keep up with her and put myself where I could halve the last hole and get into a playoff," said Duncan, of Plantation, Fla.
Kaneko's game crumbled as the match went on. When the Sacred Hearts student's final shot on No. 14 went into the bushes beyond the green, she conceded the match to the 21-year-old Lewis, who won 6 and 4.
"It's just awesome to have the opportunity to make it this far," said Lewis, who will be a junior at Arkansas. "It's just crazy."
Katharina Schallenberg, a one-time bank clerk back home in Germany, upset Duke's Jennie Lee to advance.
Schallenberg, 26, was never down in the match that she won 1-up under sunny skies at the Witch Hollow course at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club.
Lee, 18, was the only member of the U.S. team that won the Curtis Cup last month to reach the quarterfinal round.
Earlier this year, she helped the Blue Devils to their second straight national championship.
"I was quite disappointed," she said. "I guess everybody makes stupid mistakes. It happens. But I guess today, it just wasn't a good loss."
Lee won the match that gave the United States the biennial Curtis Cup competition over a team from Britain and Ireland at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort on the southern Oregon coast.
Decked out in garb from the Curtis Cup, Lee easily had the biggest following. One person held a sign occasionally that read "Lee -- Way to Go."
But Schallenberg was focused and consistent, clinching it with a 15-foot birdie putt on the par-5 No. 18 at the 6,380-yard, par-71 course. She smiled broadly and giggled, for one of her most demonstrative moments of the day.
"I'm excited because I know I can win against the girls," she said. "Before, I didn't know it."
Schallenberg briefly played at the University of Oregon in 2000 but quit because she had a fear of flying. She returned to Germany, where she apprenticed to be a bank clerk but found it "too boring," and is now studying international business.
She won the 2005 and 2006 International German Amateur Championships.
Her family and friends watched the quarterfinals via the Internet back home.
Last year's Amateur was won by 17-year-old Morgan Pressel at the Ansley Golf Club's Settindown Creek course in Roswell, Ga.
Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club was the site of the U.S. Women's Open in 1997 and 2003. Tiger Woods won the 1996 U.S. Amateur at the club.