Kim shares triumph with father

By: ANDREW EPPERSON Special to the NWA Democrat-Gazette
Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018
NWA Democrat-Gazette/CHARLIE KAIJO Razorbacks golfer Dylan Kim prepares to putt 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
NWA Democrat-Gazette/CHARLIE KAIJO Razorbacks golfer Dylan Kim prepares to putt during a qualifier to get into the LPGA tournament this week, Monday, June 18, 2018 at the Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers.

ROGERS -- Jean Kim didn't mind that his Father's Day gift came a day late.

Kim was elated that his daughter, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville senior Dylan Kim, fired a 6-under 65 to earn one of the two open spots in this week's LPGA Northwest Arkansas Championship during Monday's qualifier at Pinnacle Country Club.

Kim at a glance

AGE 21 (born Oct. 8, 1996)

HOMETOWN Plano, Texas

HEIGHT 5-7

NOTABLE Signed with Baylor and was the Big 12 Conference Freshman of the Year in 2014-2015. … Transferred to Arkansas in the fall and helped the team win its first SEC title this season, earning first-team All-SEC honors. ... Ranked second on the team with a 71.56 stroke average. ... Named to the Palmer Cup team. ... Qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open. ... SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

LPGA NW Arkansas Championship

WHEN Friday through Sunday

WHERE Pinnacle Country Club, Rogers

FORMAT 54 holes

PURSE $2 million

WINNER’S SHARE $300,000

PAR 71 YARDAGE 6,331

DEFENDING CHAMPION So Yeon Ryu 65-61-69—195 (-18)*

TICKETS General admission is $10 per day, or $25 for the week. Children under 17 with ticketed adult free. All active reserve and retired military and families are free; tickets for The Club are $75 per day or $200 for the week with food and drinks included in the price.

*Tournament record

"I'm very proud of her," Jean Kim said. "This was the best Father's Day gift ever."

Jean Kim has cheered his daughter many times from behind the ropes, but Monday he was on her bag as a caddie.

Dylan Kim tied with German golfer Leticia Ras-Anderica for the low score, each earning spots in this week's LPGA event that starts Friday. More than 40 golfers teed off Monday in the qualifier.

Dylan Kim started on the back nine and showed why she was selected to the first team All-SEC and helped the Razorbacks win their first women's SEC title. Her tee shots put her in favorable positions on the fairway, and she capitalized by using her irons to loft shots near the cup for manageable putts.

"It's one of the better rounds that I've had in a while, so it feels good to do it here at home," said Kim, a native of Plano, Texas.

Jean Kim said he was glad his work schedule allowed him to caddie for his daughter, and he was glad to see her put together a solid performance.

"We talked about it a few weeks ago," Jean Kim said. "It just worked out with work and Father's Day and everything."

He offered a few "nice shots" and high-fives for his daughter, but he said he knew his role was more of a supporting one.

"My job was to be quiet and carry the bag, not say anything," he said, adding with a laugh, "only speak when spoken to."

Dylan Kim said she might let her dad carry her bag this weekend if it means she'll have repeat performances of Monday.

"It's the first time that he's caddied for me, so I'm happy that it went well," she said.

On May 31, she competed in the U.S. Women's Open in Shoal Creek, Ala., but she missed the cut by a single shot. The letdown may have motivated her during Monday's qualifying round, said Kaylee Benton, a fellow Razorback golfer.

"Dylan is very humble, so I think she just came out here today and let it rip," Benton said. "I think she was maybe motivated after missing the cut at the Open to really make her way into this event, and I'm really proud of her for doing it."

Kim transferred to Arkansas in the fall after two seasons at Baylor, where she was the Big 12 Freshman of the Year in 2014-2015. In her first season, she was the No. 2 golfer on the Arkansas team with a 71.56 stroke average.

Jean Kim thinks his daughter's strong play will continue after the LPGA event.

"I'm biased, but I see this from her all the time," he said. "It didn't look like anything spectacular to me. It's just something she can do on a regular basis, so we have high expectations for her."

Dylan Kim is one of four current or former Razorbacks in the field this week, joining Stacy Lewis, Gaby Lopez and the Razorbacks' No. 1 golfer Maria Fassi, who earned one of the three sponsor exemptions.

Sports on 06/20/2018

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