CHARLESTON, S.C. – A wonderful week on the course in Charleston, S.C., for the Duke women’s golf program concluded Sunday at the Country Club of Charleston with three Blue Devils in the top 12 and rising sophomore Gina Kim placing as the low amateur.
“I honestly didn't expect this,” said Kim. “If I've got to be 100 percent honest, I was just trying to make the cut and make it to the weekend. So finishing out as low am is definitely a testament to the amount of support I've got, the amount of work I've put in, and just I guess how much I've matured as a person and as a player. Just being able to keep things in perspective and being able to achieve this much is truly a blessing.”
Kim, a product of Chapel Hill, N.C., carded rounds of 66, 72, 73 and 72 for a one-under-par, 283. In her final round, she turned in 15 pars, one birdie and two bogeys. Kim parred each of her final 10 holes and just missed a birdie on her final hole by one rotation of the ball. Her 72-hole score of 283 was tied for the second-lowest by an amateur in U.S. Women’s Open history.
“You know, I've had some confidence coming in here after coming off of my win with my team back in Arkansas for the NCAA National Championship,” added Kim. “So I definitely felt good about my game. My ball striking has been pretty solid, pretty consistent. Putting's pretty good. Unfortunately, the last couple of days hasn't really done much for me. I haven't made much putts. But, you know, overall, I think this tournament helped me become a more well-rounded person in terms of my game. And, you know, it helped me realize what parts of my game I needed to work on. So I'm glad I was able to come out here and enjoy this experience.”
After leading the field heading into the final round at seven-under-par, former Duke golfers Celine Boutier and Yu Liu shot four-over-par, 75, to finish tied for fifth overall. Boutier, a 2015 Blue Devil graduate, trailed by one stroke heading into the final hole, but hit her approach into the greenside bunker and finished with a double-bogey. Both Liu and Boutier were Duke teammates on the 2014 NCAA Championship squad are best friends.
“I was pretty nervous all day, even in the morning when I wasn't even on the course,” said Boutier. “Obviously majors are a different situation, but it's always good to be in this position, I guess, for the future.”
A 2013 Duke graduate, Lindy Duncan registered a two-under, 69, in the final round to move up to a tie for 26th. Former 2016 U.S. Open champion and two-time Blue Devil All-America, Brittany Lang closed the weekend in a tie for 68th.
“Today was a lot of fun,” said Duke head coach Dan Brooks. “Alex Merrill and I covered a lot of golf watching Gina, Celine, and Yu. All played well. The open was a great event for Duke golf. Gina was really poised for a 19-year-old. She can feel very proud of her week at the open.”
Duke has a history of amateur golfers making runs at the U.S. Women’s Open as Lang was runner-up in 2005 and Jenny Chuasiriporn was lost in a playoff in 1999.