ARDMORE Pa. (Kyle Porter/CBS Sports) — Michael Kim momentarily was on top of the US Open leaderboard Saturday and it was quite wonderful, wouldn’t you say?
The California Bear junior golfer is not just this year’s token low amateur, for a while he was legitimately contending for his nation’s Open Championship.
Kim went out on Saturday and shot a 1-over 71. Four birdies in six holes on the back nine got him to even on the week, just one shot back of the lead, but he had two bogeys and a double bogey in his last three holes to go back to 4 over for the tournament.
That’s not completely out of it yet, though.
Kim’ qualifying story is quite the tale, too.
He was in Atlanta on May 31, playing the NCAA semifinals which his California team lost. Then on June 2 he was in Ohio receiving the Jack Nicklaus award as the top Division I golfer in the country at the Memorial. Then on Monday, he went back to Georgia and shot a 67-66 to qualify for the US Open through sectional qualifying.
The star-struck 19-year-old is making the most of his opportunity this week. When he won the Haskins award — one of the many awarded to the best NCAA players in the country — Kim told GolfWeek how excited he was to join some of the legends of the game.
“I’m really honored and excited to be the winner of the Haskins Award,” Kim said. “It’s unbelievable to think my name will be on the same trophy as Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and many others.”
Kim won four times this year for Cal and finished in the top 10 a stunning 10 of 14 times his team competed.
We saw a similar story last year with Beau Hossler, who was just four back heading into the final day of the US Open. Hossler faded late, though. Kim is not Hossler, however, he’s a seasoned college star and he’s looking to complete the first top 10 by an amateur at a US Open since, yep, you guessed it:
Jim Simons in 1971 at Merion.
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