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Kim Si-hwan Wins U.S. Junior Amateur Golf Championship

Posted July. 25, 2004 22:11,   


Kim Si-hwan, 15, a Korean resident in America, won 2004 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship in San Fransisco.

Kim beat David Chung, 14, by one hole in the 18-hole match play finals held at the Olympic Golf Club on July 25, 2004.

This is the third time a Korean player has won this championship, after Terry Roh (1994) and James Oh (1998).

Kim also became the second-youngest champion in history, winning at the age of 15 years, 7 months and 20 days, compared to Tiger Woods, who won at the age of 15 years, 6 months and 28 days.

The finals looked like a match between David and Goliath. While Chung has a small figure of 165 cm in height and 46 kg in weight, Kim has a gigantic 183-cm, 91-kg figure.

But unlike in the ancient story, although fans cheered David, it was Goliath who won.

After a tight match through the fifth hole, Kim cut the lead in the sixth by one stroke as Chung made the mistake of a bogey.

On the 18th hole, Kim was ahead by one; Chung’s 1.8-m birdie putt did not succeed, whereas Kim succeeded in saving par.

Kim moved to America in 2000 and is now a student at Ramada High School in California. He was introduced in the Los Angeles Times last April as “an exemplary player who found his chance for success in youth.”

Meanwhile, in the final of the U.S. Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship held in Fort Worth, Texas the same day, another Korean in America, Jane Park, reached the semifinals before she was defeated by Hulieta Granand, 17, from Paraguay.

The following is an interview with Kim Si-hwan that can be found on the championship’s official homepage (www.usjunioram.org).

-A few words about your victory:

“My heart beat wildly on the final-par putt. I felt like my heart stopped there. I still can’t believe my victory.”

-Introduce yourself:

“I came here in October four years ago. I had lots of stress due to having to speak English, but I was able to learn quickly through personal tutoring. My father is in the clothes business in Korea and Vietnam.”

-How do you feel about your name carved on a trophy with golf stars like Tiger Woods?

“I’m proud of it. I’d like to enter the PGA and be one of the top 10 players in the world.

-Are you a fan of Choi Kyung-ju?

“Even though I’ve never met him, I like him as a player. I especially like seeing his great ability to concentrate. I think of him as a player who does his best all the time.”

Sang-Soo Kim ssoo@donga.com