NORMAN, Okla. University of Oklahoma junior Anthony Kim reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship in Lebanon, Ohio, after winning two matches Wednesday.
No. 1-seeded Kim fought off an early challenge from No. 33-seed Judd Easterling early Wednesday morning in the round of 32, winning 4 and 3, and put away No. 17-seed Sunghoon Kang, 5 and 4, in the afternoon round of 16.
“By the time the second match started, I was on a roll,” Kim said. “My putts were falling and I was in a groove.”
Kang was no match for Kim, who owned a 4-up lead by the fifth hole on the 6,966-yard Shaker Run Golf Course. The two-time All-American played smart golf, needing just three birdies and 11 pars over the 14 holes played to decide the outcome.
“I messed up the first hole a little bit,” Kim said. “I should have had a birdie, but managed par."
With the victory, Kim advances to Friday’s quarterfinals. He will play Ryan Keeney (Redmond, Wash.), a senior-to-be at Nevada-Las Vegas, at 6:30 a.m. CT. Should he advance to the 18-hole semifinals, Kim will being that round at 11:30 a.m. CT.
“Tomorrow’s just another day,” Kim continued. “I just want to keep making it to the next round.”
Kim’s first match of the day was anything but easy. Down three after six holes to Easterling, the Sooner shifted his play into overdrive and capitalized on some of Easterling’s mistakes to win the match 4 and 3.
The La Quinta, Calif., native struggled over his first holes, bogeying 2 and 6 and double bogeying 5, while Easterling managed birdies on 3 and 5 to take a substantial lead at 3 up.
“I struggled a little early and then found a little rhythm and started making a couple of putts,” Kim, who advanced past the second round of a USGA event for the first time in seven competitions, said. “I feel like my swing is starting to come around and I’m seeing the line better with my putts. The rust is kind of wearing off and I’m hoping it keeps improving.”
Kim kicked his game into gear, carding six birdies and three pars on the final nine holes of the match. Easterling faded, making par on seven holes and bogeying two others.
Full results are available at www.usapl.org.