Kim, McDaniel advance to APL finals
GREENSBORO, N.C. – And then there were two.
From the 156-player starting field here at Bryan Park’s Champions Course, only Lion Kim of Ann Arbor, Mich., and David McDaniel of Tucson, Ariz., remain at the 85th U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship.
Both scored 1-up victories Friday afternoon in the semifinals –Kim beating Kevin Phelan of St. Augustine, Fla., and McDaniel turning back Josh Anderson of Murrieta, Calif.
The two finalists will square off in Saturday’s 36-hole championship final starting at 7 a.m. By late afternoon, one of them will hoist the James D. Standish, Jr. trophy and earn a host of perks for future USGA championships, not to mention the most prized perk of them all – an invitation to compete next April in The Masters at Augusta (Ga.) National Golf Club.
“It’s a long and tough road getting to the final match,” said Kim, 21, a junior at Michigan. “Right now it feels great, but I still know there is a ways to go (to win it all).”
McDaniel, 25, a recent Northern Arizona graduate, had many of the same feelings.
“I’m obviously grateful to be here and to be in the position I’m in,” he said. “But there’s still one match to play and that’s what I have to focus on.”
Both players had to make comebacks in the semifinal matches and Kim really put on a show in the stretch run.
Kim, who was born in South Korea and grew up in New Jersey when his family moved there when he was just months old, was 2-down through 12 holes to Phelan, a sophomore at North Florida who missed the cut last month at the U.S. Open.
A 2009 honorable mention All-American, Kim won the 13th hole with a par and then squared the match with a “career shot” that led to an eagle on the par 5, 15th.
From 242 yards out, Kim hit a 3-wood that wound up less than a foot from the hole for a conceded eagle.
“It was a great golf shot,” Kim said. “It was probably the shot of the week so far, maybe the best shot I’ve ever hit.”
From there, Kim won No. 16 with a par and the match was his when the next two holes were halved.
But give Phelan a ton of credit for effort. He birdied three of the last four holes and lost one (15) and halved two (17 and 18).
“This was one of the best matches I’ve ever played,” Kim said. “Both of us played very well. We kept it in the fairway and were making putts. It was something.”
On the final hole, Phelan put the pressure on, hitting his approach shot to within five feet. Kim answered when his 6-iron shot from 182 yards came to rest six feet from the hole. When Kim sank the putt the match was over.
“On that last putt I was just trying to keep positive thoughts,” Kim said. “I just kind of zoned out. I just knew I was going to make it. It was one of those moments.”
McDaniel could be a poster boy for this championship, which is only open to public course players.
He never played college golf. He attended the University of Arizona for one year, but was a redshirt and never played a tournament. He left Arizona and continued his education at a University of Northern Arizona satellite campus in Tucson.
When he’s not competing in a tournament, his normal week includes hitting balls daily at a public practice range – The Practice Tee – and playing in a weekly skins game with his buddies at a public course.
Heck, he doesn’t even play in golf shoes. While he does own a pair, he’s played here all week in tennis shoes “because they’re usually more comfortable” he says.
While he may not have the pedigree of many others in this year’s APL field, he certainly has the game.
He was 3-down after six holes to Anderson, the 2007 California State Amateur champion and 2009 Pacific Northwest Amateur runner-up.
But he won Nos. 7 and 8 with birdies and 10 with a par to go all-square. Anderson answered by winning 11 with a par, only to have McDaniel win 13 with a birdie. McDaniel took his first lead of the match when he won 14 with a par and the duo halved the final four holes.
“It was a hard fought match,” said McDaniel, the 2009 Arizona State Amateur champion. “Both of us battled back and forth. I’m pretty tired right now but it’s a nice feeling knowing I’ll be back for one last day.”
So, too, will Kim as the duo square off in pursuit of the biggest prize in their golfing careers to this point.
Results from the semifinals of the U.S. Amateur Public Links, played July 16 at Bryan Park’s Champions Course in Greensboro, N.C.:
Lion Kim def. Kevin Phelan, 1 up
David McDaniel def. Josh Anderson, 1 up
• • •
Kevin Phelan def. Wesley Graham, 21 holes
Lion Kim def. Chris Williams, 1 up
David McDaniel def. Harris English, 19 holes
Josh Anderson def. Darren Wallace, 19 holes
• • •
ROUND OF 16
Garrett Rank def. Wesley Graham, 2 up
Kevin Phelan def. Kyle Souza, 2 and 1
Chris Williams def. Bhavik Patel, 1 up
Lion Kim def. Chase Wright, 2 and 1
Harris English def. Derek Ernst, 1 up
David McDaniel def. Robert Butler, 19 holes
Darren Wallace def. Patrick Reed, 1 up
Josh Anderson def. Chris Igawa, 3 and 2
• • •
ROUND OF 32
Wesley Graham def. John-Tyler Griffin, 1 up
Garrett Rank def. Brent Martin, 2 and 1
Kevin Phelan def. Griffin Wood, 19 holes
Kyle Souza def. Tim Sheppard, 4 and 3
Bhavik Patel def. Sang Yi, 1 up
Chris Williams def. Scott Langley, 20 holes
Chase Wright def. Andrew Yun, 3 and 2
Lion Kim def. Joon Heui Lee, 1 up
Derek Ernst def. Anton Arboleda, 2 and 1
Harris English def. Jonathan McCurry, 7 and 5
David McDaniel def. Mario Clemens, 2 and 1
Robert Butler def. Wesley Bryan, 1 up
Patrick Reed def. Alex Edfort, 3 and 2
Darren Wallace def. Jim Liu, 20 holes
Chris Igawa def. Chase Wilson, 4 and 3
Josh Anderson def. Josh Brock, 3 and 2
• • •
ROUND OF 64
John-Tyler Griffin def. Andrew Perez, 1 up
Wesley Graham def. Andrew Lawson, 4 and 3
Garrett Rank def. Cody Paladino, 5 and 4
Brent Martin def. Thomas Welk, 3 and 2
Griffin Wood def. Riley Arp, 2 and 1
Kevin Phelan def. Jay Hwang, 4 and 3
Kyle Souza def. Justin Lower, 5 and 3
Tim Sheppard def. Mark Knecht, 4 and 3
Bhavik Patel def. Eric Hsu, 3 and 2
Sang Yi def. Andrew Bryant, 4 an d3
Scott Langley def. Greg Condon, 2 and 1
Andrew Yun def. Ricky Jones, 6 and 5
Chase Wright def. Sean Knapp, 1 up
Joon Heui Lee def. Jon Veneziano, 2 and 1
Lion Kim def. Ross Canavan, 6 and 5
Derek Ernst def. Clayton Rotz, 2 and 1
Anton Arboleda def. Taylor Travis, 1 up
Harris English def. Rob Simmons, 6 and 4
Jonathan McCurry def. Nick Taylor, 4 and 2
Mario Clemens def. Zachary Blair, 4 and 3
David McDaniel def. Carlos Ortiz, 1 up
Robert Butler def. David Watkins, 4 and 2
Wesley Bryan def. Cameron Peck, 1 up
Patrick Reed def. Travis Graham, 7 and 6
Alex Edfort def. Garren Poirier, 20 holes
Darren Wallace def. Tevis Upton, 2 and 1
Jim Liu def. Colby Shrum, 3 and 2
Chris Igawa def. George Bryan, 2 and 1
Chase Wilson def. Andrew Vijarro, 3 and 2
Josh Brock def. Tim Fisher, DQ
Josh Anderson def. John Hahn, 2 and 1