Boise State golfer headed to NCAA regionals

ccripe@idahostatesman.comMay 16, 2013 

Boise State senior T.K. Kim has dreamed of a pro career since he was little, growing up in South Korea and on Maui.

He's in position to chase that dream this summer but has decided, at least for now, to wait a year.

"Now it's scary that it's time to make a decision," he said.

Kim, who is capping his college career with one of the best seasons in school history, will compete Thursday through Saturday at the NCAA Regional in Pullman, Wash. He must post the highest finish of any player not on an advancing team to reach the NCAA meet.

He is the fifth Bronco to reach regionals and the first since PGA/ Tour veteran Troy Merritt in 2008.

Kim has finished in the top 25 of all 11 tournaments this season. He has recorded three top-10s, including a fifth at the Mountain West tournament, and a stroke average of 72.29, fifth-best in school history.

"He's been playing fantastic the last few weeks," Boise State men's golf coach Kevin Burton said. "I seriously like his chances (of advancing)."

The key for Kim this season: consistency.

"He's eliminated the bad rounds," Burton said, "and he's very much more consistent (than last year). And when he makes putts, he's going to contend."

Kim, 22, was born in South Korea. He split time between there and his aunt's house on Maui as a child and moved to Hawaii full time to live with his aunt when he was 10.

His dad is a former teaching pro and his mom is into golf, too. He has visited them in Korea each of the past two winters. "My parents just wanted me to have a better life, more opportunities," he said. "It was easier for me to play golf (in Hawaii)."

He has found a third home in Boise, where he has enjoyed his college golf experience and developed a strong relationship with Burton.

Kim plans to help coach in the fall while he completes his degree and prepares for a pro career. He plans to play the major amateur circuit this summer.

"I've still got to believe more, believe in my game a bit more," he said. "It's gotten a lot better, but I think I need to still work on it. … I'm trying to prepare myself for the next step. I'll be grinding for about a year and then hopefully something good happens the next year."

Said Burton, a former PGA Tour player: "Without a doubt (he'll be a pro). He's got all the shots. He can hit it. He can putt. He's got a good short game. It's more or less stay out of his own way and believe in himself a little bit."

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