May 22, 2009
OWINGS MILLS, Md. - UC Davis' Alice Kim shot a final-round 76 at the NCAA Division I Championships on Friday at Caves Valley Golf Club, tying for eighth on the individual leaderboard and helping the Aggies showcase their program at college women's golf showcase tournament for the second consecutive year.
Kim, a sophomore from Walnut who finished in a tie for 34th at last year's championship, started Friday in fourth place after her 2-under 70 in Thursday's third round vaulted her from a tie for 16th to contention for the national championship.
Teeing off at 9 a.m. (Pacific) on Friday, Kim got off to a great start by posting a birdie on the par-4, 396-yard first hole which lifted her into second place. However, three consecutive bogeys beginning on the third hole pushed her to 2-over while another at the ninth hole made her 3-over at the turn.
She played a very steady back nine, finishing with eight pars and just one bogey to card a 7-over 295 on the par-72, 6,443-yard course. Kim, ranked 50th by Golfstat, had the best placing among the six individual golfers not on a participating team and was the lowest-ranked golfer to earn a top-eight finish.
Her performance helped UC Davis make a name of itself at the NCAA Finals for the second straight year. Last season, the Aggies earned an improbable spot in the elite field in just its first year of eligibility, eventually finishing 21st. Kim said knowing what to expect at the high-caliber event was a plus.
"I know the experience, even just one year, means so much," she said.
Head coach Anne Walker said Kim proved she belonged with college golf's best competitors.
"Tee to green, her game is as good as any player at the collegiate level," said the Aggies' first-year coach.
Walker also credited Kim's confidence for helping her play well, noting it has been growing throughout her tremendous sophomore campaign.
"The player I brought here this week was looking to win and finish in the top 10," she said.
Maria Hernandez of Purdue shot a 1-under 71 in the last round, claiming medalist honors by a stroke when USC's Jennifer Song double-bogeyed the last hole. Hernandez finished at 1-over 289 while Song took second at 2-over. Pernilla Lindberg of Oklahoma State was third at 3-over.
Kim tied with 13th-ranked Maria Jose Uribe of UCLA for eighth place. She shot consecutive rounds of 74, 75, 70 and 76 this week. Despite fighting a cold throughout her tournament, Kim had 12 birdies including four over each of her middle rounds.
"It was a good experience and I hope to be back next year," said Kim.
Top-ranked Arizona State shot a 3-over 291 on Friday, overtaking third-day leader USC and claiming top team honors at 30-over 1,182. UCLA was second, eight shots back, while USC was nine strokes off the pace.
Kim's standout finish brings the Aggies' 2008-08 season to a close. UC Davis, in just its fourth year as a varsity program and only its second at the Div. I level, has already participated in two national championships. The Aggies had eight top-10 tournament finishes this season including runner-up showings at the UC Irvine Anteater Invitational and the Big West Conference Championships.
Besides Kim, UC Davis was represented at the NCAA West Regional by sophomore Chelsea Stelzmiller who earned medalist honors at the Anteater Invitational. Both she and Kim were named to the All-Big West Conference first team.
NCAA DIVISION I CHAMPIONSHIPS
Owings Mills, Md.
Caves Valley Golf Club
Par 72, 6,443 yards
TEAM (top 5)
1. Arizona State, 302-298-291-291-1182
2. UCLA, 296-293-304-297-1190
3. Southern California, 301-295-294-301-1191
4. Oklahoma State, 303-297-309-290-1199
5. Denver, 294-304-309-299-1206
INDIVIDUALS (top 5)
1. Maria Hernandez, Purdue, 74-72-72-71-289
2. Jennifer Song, USC, 72-73-71-74-290
3. Pernilla Lindberg, Oklahoma State, 74-72-76-69-291
T4. Amanda Blumenherst, Duke, 75-73-74-71-293
T4. Azahara Munoz, Arizona State, 78-71-72-72-293
T8. Alice Kim, 74-75-70-76-295