Kim grinding through postseason on hurt Achilles

Kim grinding through postseason on hurt Achilles

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Kim grinding through postseason on hurt Achilles

STILLWATER, Okla. – Michigan’s Lion Kim tied for first place at the NCAA Central Region a couple of weeks ago, and Thursday completed the stroke-play portion of the NCAA Championship at Karsten Creek Golf Club with a most respectable 1-under-par 215.

A solid way for the Wolverine senior to close out his outstanding collegiate career, but what makes these last two performances even more impressive is that Kim did it pretty much on one leg.

After injuring his left Achilles during the Big Ten Conference Championship, he has been getting acupuncture shots and daily treatments. The only rounds he’s played were in competition at the Big 10, Central Regional and the national championship – no in-between practice rounds for Kim.

Within five minutes after limping around the course and making birdie on the 18th – his final collegiate stroke-play hole – he had a large ice pack tied around his left ankle.

“I’m not sure how it happened and we don’t really have an answer as to what it is,” said Kim, the 2010 U.S. Amateur Public Links champion. “I thought coming into this week it was getting good, but it kept getting worse and worse once we got here.”

Kim said that sometime next week he would have another MRI, but noted it would have to be mid-to-late week. That’s because this Monday he will be competing for a spot in this year’s U.S. Open in a sectional qualifier in Memphis, Tenn.

“The thing about Lion is he’s just full of sheer desire,” said Michigan coach Andrew Sapp. “He works his tail off every day and has been a huge role model for our team. Not only is he an outstanding player, he is an outstanding leader for our team. He practices and works so hard because he wants to play pro golf. That’s his passion.”

And that’s exactly what Kim plans to do – only he’s in no immediate rush.

“I know I’ll be turning pro and plan to go to (PGA Tour) Q-School in the fall,” said Kim, who, along with his regional title, won the Windon Memorial this season. “I’m just not sure when I’ll do it. I want to talk with people and get some input. Right now, though, I’m thinking about (turning pro) after the U.S. Amateur. I’m exempt for that and it would be great because Erin Hills (Golf Club just outside of Milwaukee, Wis.) is only about four hours from my home in Ann Arbor.”

Kim, who competed in this year’s Masters but missed the cut, said he is pleased with his college career, but admits it could have been a little better.

“I won’t say it was great, but it was good,” Kim said. “Maybe from a golf standpoint I underachieved a little, but I also put a lot of my emphasis and time on my schoolwork. That was very important to me.”

Still, on a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is the highest mark, Kim gives his college golfing career a 9.

“I enjoyed college, I enjoyed playing college golf and I enjoyed being around all my coaches and teammates at Michigan,” he said. “But now I’m ready to move on and hopefully be playing golf for a long, long time.”

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