Boises T.K. Kim survived the final nine holes for a one-shot victory in the IGA Mens Amateur at The Club at SpurWing on Sunday.
Kim, a 21-year-old on Boise States golf team, carded four birdies and a 1-under 70 to finish at even par (213) for the tournament.
Its a huge confidence booster. Playing in Idaho, it definitely means a lot too, Kim said.
Kim grew up in South Korea and Hawaii, picking up golf when he was 10 years old on Maui. He came to Boise to play college golf and won the Jim Colbert Intercollegiate in Manhattan, Kan., in October, and said hes been focusing on improving on the toughest course the one between the ears.
Me and coach Kevin (Burton) really worked on the mental side of the game trying to stay positive, trying to harness the pressure. Whenever I felt nervous I smiled and said This is what I practice for, Kim said.
Kims even-par 35 on the back nine was just enough to hold off 26-year-old David Nuhn of Moscow, who finished at 1-over (214).
The inward nine was a battle of attrition for Kim and playing partners Everett Grimes II and Jordan Skyles, Kims teammate at BSU, in the final group. Skyles, the first and second round leader, held a three-shot lead at 4-under over Grimes with 10 holes to play, but the fickle game decided to reward Kims ability to simply hang around the lead.
After the turn I was (three) down to Jordan (Skyles) and I thought I was kind of out of it, Kim said. I just told myself I just have to give myself nine more looks and maybe something will happen.
Nuhn played college golf and graduated from the University of Idaho, and was the only one in contention to gain ground on the back nine. His bogey-free, 3-under 68 featured two birdies on the back, with birdie putts on Nos. 17 and 18 that narrowly missed.
When I got to the 17th tee I realized I was only one behind and tied for second, and that was when I was like Whoa, maybe I can get one more here on the last two. Had a couple of chances but they just didnt drop, Nuhn said.
Kim drilled a 20-foot putt for birdie on No. 16 to grab the lead, and before teeing off on No. 18, knew Nuhn finished at 1-over.
With that in his mind and knowing he needed a par, Kim fired at the back-left pin on 18. His shot hopped just over the green, requiring a very tricky up-and-down from a bad lie in the rough about 15 feet from the cup.
The grass is so long, it was sitting straight down and I thought it might come out a muffed chip or I might run it by, Kim said. I was trying to pop it out somewhere around the hole. It was so thick, such a delicate chip.
The chip fluffed out perfectly, finishing less than two feet from the hole. Kim tapped it in for the win in his first IGA Mens Amateur appearance.
I knew that was a big mistake with the pin being there, but Im glad I got the up-and-down, Kim said.
Alex Calinsky: 377-6361