Vanderbilt golf star Auston Kim competes in the US Women’s Open, finishes at 7-over

Kim competed as an amateur in the major tournament.

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Auston Kim plays her tee shot on the 11th hole during the second round at the 2020 U.S. Women’s Open on Dec. 11, 2020. (©USGA/Jeff Haynes)

Betsy Goodfriend, Deputy Sports Editor

Vanderbilt junior Auston Kim finished her second US Women’s Open at 7-over on Friday.

Kim missed the cut for the tournament by four strokes, but she says she gained valuable lessons from playing with the world’s best women’s golfers.

“I think playing among the best and just enjoying the atmosphere has been really helpful,” Kim said.

The tournament was played at Champions Golf Club in Houston, Texas. Kim played one round each at the Jackrabbit and Cypress Creek courses. Two-course tournaments are rare on the LPGA tour.

“It was definitely interesting to play two different courses with different setups,” she said. “I can see how it would be kind of annoying to some people, but I definitely enjoyed it.”

Kim played the Jackrabbit course on Thursday for her first round. She played the par-71 course well, especially on the back nine.

Her first two holes were a challenging welcome to the competition. Kim double-bogeyed the par-five first hole and bogeyed the second hole. She rebounded and played the next 16 holes at 1-over par, including an even 35 on the back nine. 

Kim credited her sister, who was her caddie for the tournament, for keeping her calm after the first two holes.

“I knew that it was really early, and mistakes can happen, especially if you’re a little bit nervous,” Kim said. “It really just helped to take a few breaths and get myself centered again.”

The design of pro courses proved to be challenging, as she hit only four of 14 fairways, but she was able to rebound by hitting her irons accurately and making it onto the green.

Kim hit 14 of 18 greens in regulation in her first round, which was more than all but 10 professional golfers in the 156-woman field.

Her second round started early Friday morning in order to avoid heavy rain in the afternoon. Kim started on the tenth hole of the par-71 Cypress Creek course and was even through her first thirteen holes.

Three straight bogeys on holes five through seven put her at 3-over for the day, and that’s where she would finish after closing out her round with two pars.

Perhaps the most impressive part of her week was that she played in the tournament during final exams.

“It’s taken some reshuffling and thankfully a few of my professors in my major department have been really gracious with time and rescheduling,” Kim said. “It’s been kind of difficult. I’m not going to lie.”

Kim will rejoin the Commodores in the spring for competition after spending the fall as a remote student.