University of California sophomore Michael Kim, who also led his team to the semifinals of the NCAA Golf Championships over the weekend, tied Ryan Nelson of Charleston, S.C. for low medalist in the U.S. Open sectional qualifier on Monday at Hawks Ridge Golf Club. Both shot 11-under-par 133 for 36 holes. Kim shot rounds of 67-66 and Nelson carded a 68-65.
“It’s a dream come true,” Kim said. You dream of playing those majors and playing alongside Tiger (Woods), Phil (Mickelson) and (Matt) Kuchar. To be in the same tournament with them is awesome.”
Grayson Murray of Raleigh, N.C. also qualified with rounds of 69-66 to finish at 135.
T.J. Vogel of Cooper City, Fla. shot 136 to become the first alternate, and Mitchell Jordan of Atlanta shot 137 and won a four-man playoff to earn second alternate.
Kim started quickly on his first round with three birdies and an eagle after driving the green on the 319-yard par-4 sixth hole to put him at 5-under at the turn on his way to 67. He continued his good play in the afternoon round making seven more birdies to shoot 66.
After Nelson finished his first round with an eagle on the par-5 18th hole – after hitting a 225-yard 4 iron to 12 feet – he played a bogey-free second round while making seven birdies.
“I went from an OK first round to a much better position in the second round,” Nelson said. “I made a few more putts. I played well and really limited mistakes.”
Starting on No. 10, Murray played his best golf in the last nine holes of his second round after making a double bogey on No. 13. After making the turn, he made three birdies and an eagle on the par-5 seventh hole.
James White, a former Harrison High School and Georgia Tech standout, came up short, shooting 3-under par 141. White, a member of the Web.com Tour after making the final stage of Q School at the beginning of the year, shot 69 in the first round and 72 in the second.
Three-putting became White’s biggest nemesis. He said he struggled to adapt to the speed of the greens.
“I had good putts that looked like they were going in and just didn’t,” White said. “A couple of putts I hit right on the line, but I left them short because I didn’t hit them hard enough.”
Birdies on Nos. 3 and 4 helped White in the first round while bogeys on the same holes hurt him in the second.
He had a chance for eagle on No. 4 in the morning, but missed a 20-foot putt and had to settle for birdie. When he returned to No. 4 in his second round he hit his second into a greenside water hazard.
“I gave it my best and it wasn’t quite good enough,” White said. “My game was good enough to make (the U.S. Open), but putts didn’t go my way a couple of times.”
Acworth’s Jason Bohn, tried to qualify at the Colonial Country Club sectional qualifier in Memphis, Tenn., prior to this week’s PGA Tour stop at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. Bohn shot rounds of 72 and 73 to finish at 1-over par, five shots behind the necessary qualifying score.