Gina Kim surges to first AJGA Invitational title at Rolex Girls Junior Championship

Gina Kim surges to first AJGA Invitational title at Rolex Girls Junior Championship

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Gina Kim surges to first AJGA Invitational title at Rolex Girls Junior Championship

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In a fitting tribute to U.S. Open week, a score well over par secured the AJGA Rolex Girls Junior Championship. Gina Kim was the one to pass through that door.

Kim, Golfweek‘s No. 28, fired a final-round 72 Friday at the Country Club of Rochester (N.Y.) and played her final three rounds (72, 74, 72) in 8 over. Yet, her 8-over total was enough for a two-shot victory and her first AJGA Invitational win.

She did so with flawless back nine 2-under 33, although her outer coolness didn’t reflect what was going on inside.

“My heart was pounding,” Kim said. “Even if I run a mile, it was probably not as fast as that.”

Whatever the nerves, Kim held strong. Bogeys in four of the first six holes for the Chapel Hill, N.C., girl seemed to spell doom, but she wouldn’t make a mistake the remainder of the day in securing 10 pars and two birdies (No. 10 and No. 18) on the way to victory.

It was a two-shot triumph that was almost thwarted by a spirited charge. Emilia Migliaccio, a Class of 2017 prospect from Cary, N.C., ranked 11th overall., started the day nine shots back but stormed up into contention thanks to a birdie at No. 1 and four more between 10 and 16. A bogey at the last went about thwarting her chances, though, as she settled for 4-under 66 to finish 10 over.

Fifty-four-hole leader Micheala Williams, a Tennessee signee ranked 90th, began the day one ahead and added on an early birdie at No. 4 for good measure, but seven bogeys in the next 13 ensued. Her final-round 76 dropped her to solo third.

Jaravee Boonchant, who is a Duke commit (only for 2017) like Kim, placed fourth at 12 over following a 73. Jennifer Chang’s closing 67 jumped her 11 spots to solo fifth at 14 over, while first-round leader Elizabeth Wang ended up one behind that in a tie for sixth.

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