LA golfer Kim makes top 20 at state finals

Los Altos High’s Caris Kim got off to just the kind of start she had hoped for at last week’s state girls golf championships, bagging a birdie on the first hole. It was the end of her round that didn’t go as planned.

“Going into the last few holes, I was 1-over (par), but then I had a couple bogeys in a row,” the senior said. “It was a little frustrating, because my back nine was solid until then.”

Bogeys on holes 15, 16 and 17 dropped Kim’s score to 4-over-par. She shot par on 18 to finish with a 75 Nov. 19 at Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach.

“I could have done better,” Kim said. “My putting wasn’t great – no putts were dropping.”

Despite her short-game struggles, Kim still posted the 13th-best score among the 54 competitors at state. She placed five shots behind champ Caroline Canales of Calabasas on the challenging course, made even more difficult by the weather conditions.

“I was very surprised by the scores – I thought they would be lower – but the wind and cold probably affected them,” the Princeton University-bound Kim said. “It was really windy and (the temperature) was in the mid-50s.”

Kim, who last competed at Poppy Hills in the summer of 2018 at the U.S. Girls’ Junior, recorded two birdies last week.

“I started with a birdie, which was nice, because I was nervous on the first hole,” she said. “That kind of got my round going.”

Kim was 1-over-par at the turn, then had a bogey on the 10th and shot par on the 11th. She birdied the 12th to get back to 1-over and shot par on the next two holes.

“I hit so many greens,” Kim said. “It was nice, because the Poppy greens are tough.”

So even though her round didn’t end well, Kim will look back fondly on the experience.

“It was always a goal of mine,” she said of qualifying for state, “but I never expected to make it. This year was a surprise – and it was awesome.”

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