NORMAN, Okla. Anthony Kim dominated his semifinal match at the U.S. Amateur Public Links Friday afternoon, cruising to a 6 and 5 victory over Kevin Larsen (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and into Saturday’s championship match.
Kim’s finals appearance marks his best showing in a USGA event since finishing as a semifinalist at last year’s Public Links.
After an exhausting 19-hole contest in the quarterfinals, Kim bogeyed the first hole of his semifinal match with Larsen to fall a hole behind. But the three-time All-American responded with a birdie at the par-4 second to square the match, and a birdie at the par-3 fifth put him ahead.
Kim never looked back, taking a 5-up lead after Larsen stumbled to three straight bogeys on holes seven, eight and nine. The players matched scores on the next two holes before Kim holed a birdie putt at the 249-yard, par-3 12th to go 6-up. Kim and Larsen both parred the 13th hole ending the match.
Kim’s 6 and 5 victory was the most lopsided result of the tournament.
In his quarterfinal match Friday morning, Kim fell behind Matt Harmon (Grand Rapids, Mich.) with a bogey at the seventh hole. From there, Harmon stretched his lead to 4-up with a birdie at the 10th.
Facing a sizeable deficit with eight holes to go, Kim responded with a birdie of his own at the par-5 11th, cutting Harmon’s lead to three. Both players birdied the 12th and bogeyed the 13th before Kim once again sliced into the lead with a birdie at 14.
A bogey by Harmon at the 16th left Kim 1-down with two holes to play. The OU All-American promptly birdied the par-4 17th to square the match.
Neither player could win it on the 18th, and for the second straight day Kim took a match to the 19th hole.
Just as he did in defeating 17-year-old Rory Hie (Los Angeles) in the second round, Kim watched his competitor bogey the first playoff hole, opening the door for a par to win it.
Once again, Kim calmly sank his par putt and took home his second extra-hole victory of the tournament.
The 36-hole final will tee of Saturday at 9:30 a.m. CST, with Kim facing Casey Watabu of Kapaa, Hawaii.
Watabu, a recent graduate of the University of Nevada, defeated Tim Feenstra of Lynden, Wash., in a 20-hole match to reach the finals.
Watabu ousted OU signee Jesse Schutte in the second round.
Live scoring of Saturday’s final of the 81st U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship can be found at the APL’s official site, www.USAPL.org.
Kim's Match Results:
Rd. 1 (7/12): Kim def. Lucas Lee (Brazil), 2 and 1
Rd. 2 (7/13): Kim def. Rory Hie (Los Angeles), 19 holes
Rd. 3 (7/13): Kim def. Brad Marek (Arlington Heights, Ill.), 5 and 4
Quarterfinals (7/14): Kim def. Matt Harmon (Grand Rapids, Mich.), 19 holes
Semifinals (7/14): Kim def. Kevin Larsen (Santa Barbara, Calif.), 6 and 5