Kim fires 65 to earn spot in LPGA field

By: ANDREW EPPERSON Special to the NWA Democrat-Gazette
Published: Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Razorbacks golfer Dylan Kim swings during a qualifier to get into the LPGA tournament this week, Monday, June 18, 2018 at the Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers.
Photo by Charlie Kaijo
Razorbacks golfer Dylan Kim swings during a qualifier to get into the LPGA tournament this week, Monday, June 18, 2018 at the Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers.

ROGERS -- Two golfers fired 6-under 65s on Monday to earn the final two spots in the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club.

Germany's Leticia Ras-Anderica and University of Arkansas, Fayetteville junior Dylan Kim bested a field of more than 40 golfers including several current and former Razorbacks.

Walmart NW Arkansas Championship

At Pinnacle Country Club

Monday Qualifier

Leticia Ras-Anderica^65

Dylan Kim (a)^65

Alison Walshe^67

Kathleen Ekey^67

Elaine Wood^67

Karah Sanford^68

Brittany Benvenuto^69

Dori Carter^69

Min Lee^69

Alana Uriell^69

Summar Roachell^69

Complete scores at nwarkansaschampionship.com

"I played very well," Kim said. "I hit a lot of greens, and I putted well, so that always makes for a good round."

Kim, who helped lead the Razorback women's golf team to its first Southeastern Conference championship during the regular season, said there are pros and cons to playing as an individual compared to playing for a program.

She said her 65 on Monday was the best score she'd had on the course, which will host the LPGA event for the 12th year starting Friday.

"It's one of the better rounds I've had in a while, so it was good to do it here at home," Kim said. "It's a little bit different because you're playing it as an individual. It's really cool when you get to play for a team, and you only get four years of it."

Monday gave other golfers and spectators a glimpse at what Kim could be doing when those four years conclude after next season. The Plano, Texas, native started her day on the back nine and seemed to be in control from the very beginning. She narrowly missed a few medium-to-long-range putts on the front nine that would have taken her even lower, but getting into the field was all that mattered, and she did that by two strokes over three others who shot 4-under 67s.

Arkansas' golf team was awarded three spots in the qualifier. Junior Alana Uriell shot a 69 on the day to tie for seventh, where she was joined on the leaderboard by former Arkansas golfer Summar Roachell. Junior Kaylee Benton tied for 21st with a 74.

"I had a rough day," Benton said. "I didn't start out well, but I kind of started getting back. I, unfortunately, couldn't get it going on the back nine, and I just couldn't really get any putts to drop or get any birdies."

Kim will be joined by junior Razorback Maria Fassi, who earned a sponsor's exemption to secure a spot. Former Hogs Stacy Lewis and Gaby Lopez are also a part of the field of 144.

Arkansas coach Shauna Taylor knows that this event is a major recruiting perk for her program.

"I look forward to this week every year," Taylor said. "I know that a lot of our players have the dream of playing on tour, and what a great opportunity to be able to come out to your home facilities and do that. Just to watch them compete in these settings, I think it's a really great preparatory tool for them."

The professional golfers will start filing in today in preparation for Friday's opening round of the 54-hole championship. So Reon Ryu is the defending tournament champion. The top 10 professional golfers on the tour are expected to compete this week.

Sports on 06/19/2018

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