Kimberly Kim didn't cut it but will play in another LPGA major
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. » Kimberly Kim wanted to spend yesterday afternoon going to a movie as she waited with family and friends to see if she would make the cut at the Kraft Nabisco Championship. But nobody wanted to go with her.
After having lunch and knocking around the practice green for a couple of hours, the 15-year-old from Hilo was set to drive back to Arizona, where she and her mother now live, but was told by the scorekeeper not to wander too far just yet.
Her father, Young Soo, who splits time between Arizona and the family home on the Big Island, said it was possible Kim would slip in under the ropes by the time the last player was done at the LPGA Tour's first major event.
Kim shot a 4-over 76 yesterday to complete the first 36 holes in 10-over 154. The projected cut was 8 over, leaving her two shots shy of playing over the weekend, but the scorekeeper said he was convinced it would be at least 9 over and possibly 10 by the end of the day.
"Let's go to the movies," Kim suggested. "I don't want to wait around all day wondering what's going to happen. I want to plan for the worst and hope for the best."
Her father wouldn't hear of it. He had the car loaded up and ready for departure. Kim's dad gave the scorekeeper his cellphone number, so he could turn around and come back if necessary. But as it turned out, Kim missed the cut by one shot as the final groups came in 7 hours after she had finished. She wound up in a tie for 75th.
"I never really thought it was going to drop to 10 over," Kim said. "I'm disappointed, especially coming that close, but that's how it is. I tried my best. I was really down mentally most of the day. I just didn't feel good about myself coming in."
There's no rest for the weary. Kim begins her play in the American Junior Golf Association next week in Arizona at the Heather Farr Classic. Punahou School's Stephanie Kono will also be there for this 54-hole event, and it can't come soon enough for Kim.
Over the last six weeks, she played in three LPGA events, including the two in Hawaii, and failed to make the cut in any of the three. Kim isn't sure why she hasn't been able to put it all together. Her ball-striking was sound at the SBS Open at Turtle Bay and the Fields Open in Hawaii, but her putting was faulty.
Just the opposite was true this week, as Kim had problems controlling her shots off the tee. During the opening round on Thursday, most of her drives and iron shots drifted to the right. Yesterday, she was hammering her drives left, including one at the 15th that caught a date palm guarding the left side of the fairway.
If the ball hadn't clipped the tree, it would have found Dinah Shore Drive, prompting Kim to say, "I told that golf ball to go hit a car. Fortunately, it didn't listen to me."
Instead, the ball fell straight down in the rough, leading to one of six bogeys for Kim, who also closed with back-to-back birdies at Nos. 17 and 18, giving her an outside shot of finishing among the top 70 golfers in the field.
Had she had a similar finish on Thursday, instead of the two bogeys to close her round, Kim would be playing today. Now, she is back in Arizona to compete with girls her own age.
"I'm kind of glad in a way," Kim said. "It's very intense out here on the LPGA Tour. This is more of a business. I like playing junior golf because it's fun. Even the marshals are less intense than they are here.
"It was a goodish experience for me. This is a lot different out here than what I'm used to. I want to have fun when I'm playing golf, and shooting 10 over isn't a whole lot of fun. I just wish I had played a little bit better."
Kim's statistics tell the story. She hit only 15 fairways and 17 greens in regulation for the tournament. She drove the ball well enough, averaging 260 yards off the tee. And her 59 putts was also a solid number.
"I didn't have any three-putts," Kim said. "But I didn't have a lot of birdie opportunities, either. A lot of those one-putts were for par or bogey."
Kim didn't have any double bogeys, either, but she managed only three birdies, and that wasn't nearly enough to offset the 13 bogeys she had on her card.
"This was a lot different than the U.S. Open," Kim said. "It's hard to compare the two experiences. I made the cut at the Open, which was a good thing. I wish I could have done the same here. I came close. If I had just parred my 18th hole on Thursday, and I really should have, then I'm in. That's how close it was for me."