Grace Kim has survived a thriller in her round of 64 matches at the US Women’s Amateur early this morning (AEST).
On a chaotic day that saw the top two seeds eliminated, the defending champion, Rose Zhang defeated, and only three of the top ten progress, Kim held firm to take out her Canadian opponent, Celeste Dao, with a clutch par on the last to win one-up.
The match was an arm wrestle from the outset, with the pair trading birdies early.
A brace of bogeys on the 6th, 7th and 8th, the Avondale gun gifted the Canadian a two-hole lead by the turn.
The NSW and Australian Amateur Champion found her groove coming home, taking the 11th with a par, and immediately followed it up with a birdie on the par-five 12th to level the match.
Another birdie on the short par-three 14th saw Kim back in the lead for the first time since the 5th hole, but the drama was far from over; When Kim couldn’t get up and down from the bunker on the 16th, the Canadian was back in the mix.
Another chance for redemption on the 17th slipped by when again Kim failed to save par from the sand.
On the last though, Kim found her composure, two-putting for par to claim the match, one-up.
“Nervous as heck, especially on the last couple of holes.
“I don’t make up-and-down from the bunkers non 16 & 17, I mean…
“My putting today was, ahem, I just didn’t hole a putt.
“It was a challenge and a test of patience because I kept hitting good shots,” Kim said post-round.
Her solution, of course, was to head straight to the putting green.
“I’m here now, trying to work it out. My speed was maybe a little bit off, maybe the line.
“I got through, which is fine, and it’s good to know I am giving myself lots of opportunities out there, so hopefully the putts will start to drop tomorrow.” she added.
Kim’s opponent in tomorrow’s round of 32 will be Tennessee’s Rachel Heck, who accounted for Californian Karen Tsuru today, 7 & 5.
In the All-Aussie match, Emily Mahar accounted for Western Australia’s Maddison Hinson Tolchard, two up. Hinson-Tolchard had no answers as Mahar, two down with four to play, peeled off a par, par, birdie, birdie finish to progress to the round of 32.
Mahar’s opponent tomorrow will be Sophie Guo of China.
*Image | USGA