Kim loses in semifinals of U.S. Amateur
CARMEL, Ind. » A steady Amanda Blumenherst made short work of defending champion Kimberly Kim.
The two-time college player of the year at NCAA champion Duke beat the 15-year-old Kim 5 and 3 yesterday in the semifinals of the U.S. Women's Amateur golf tournament.
Blumenherst advanced to today's 36-hole final round at Crooked Stick Golf Club against Maria Jose Uribe of Colombia, who beat Ha Na Jang of South Korea 2 and 1 in the other semifinal.
"It was really fun," Blumenherst said. "I played really solid, hit the ball well and the putts were falling."
Kim, a former Big Island resident now living in Arizona, had to go 21 holes to pull out a quarterfinal victory on Friday, but she fell apart early against Blumenherst and never recovered, even with a late run of four straight birdies.
"At least you can't say I gave up," she said.
Blumenherst, who grew up in Fort Wayne, Ind., and lives in Scottsdale, Ariz., went 3-up after Kim hit behind a hazard on the sixth hole and 4-up two holes later after Kim's second shot went into the water. The 20-year-old Blumenherst, who has had only one bogey in her past three rounds, birdied No. 10 after the backspin on her second shot brought her ball within a foot of the pin, and she birdied the par-5 No. 11 after a near-perfect pitch from the sand.
She knew she had the match after that.
"I was playing too well," Blumenherst said. "I knew I was hitting the ball so well that I was going to par at worst."
Kim, the youngest champion in the tournament's 107-year history, was trying to become the first repeat winner since Kelli Kuehne in 1995-96.
"I can't believe she played that good," Kim said. "I knew I was out of it. She just kept birdieing. I tried to take it as far as I could, but ... oh, well."
U.S. Women's Amateur Championship
At Carmel, Ind.
Semifinals, par 72
Maria Jose Uribe, Colombia, def. Ha Na Jang, South Korea, 2 and 1.
Amanda Blumenherst, Scottsdale, Ariz., def. Kimberly Kim, Hilo, Hawaii, 5 and 3.