Gina Kim finished an unforgettable year of golf with her second straight dominating performance at the N.C. High School Association 3A girls golf state championships Tuesday afternoon.
Kim blazed by the field — winning by nine strokes — at Longleaf Golf and Family Club with a 36-hole, two-day total of 3-under-par, 141.
She was happy to recap a the accomplishments of the year: the Rolex Girls Junior Championship, her participation on the Junior Ryder Cup team last month, a first-team Rolex Junior All-America team selection and a top-10 ranking in the nation by Golfweek.
But continuing to be the overachiever that she has always been, Kim was already focused on her next task: catching up on her school work at Chapel Hill High School.
“I’ve missed so much school that I’m ready now to just kind of stay in school for a while,” Kim said. “I’m sure my teachers aren’t the happiest with me because I’ve missed so much and have so much to catch back up on.”
She said she’s missed more than two weeks of class time for tournaments.
However, her concerns about her teachers’ worries over the Duke commit’s classwork are probably overstated.
Kim opened the tournament with successive birdies on a pair of par-4s measuring just under 350 yards each and never looked back. She birdied two holes on the back nine Monday.
“It gave me some sense of relief, but at the same time it just made we want to go even lower so that was me putting more pressure on myself,” Kim said.
She led by five shots — the same margin she won by during the 2015 state finals — after the first day. There were only three rounds at level par or under and Kim registered two of those, going 69-72 for the title.
Kim, a junior, had a more up-and-down round on Tuesday: five birdies, three bogeys and a very rare double bogey.
“It makes it all the more special,” she said of the win. “The 3A state championship has been one of the highlights of my career and always one of the higher things on my list of things I want to accomplish.”
Rockingham County’s Hailey Joy had a 72 in the final round, helping lead the Cougars to a second consecutive state team championship. Rockingham finished at 503 as a team, 25 shots ahead of runner-up Burlington’s Williams High.
Lee County was fifth and South Johnston, appearing in its first state championship as a team, tied for seventh.
Northwood freshman Katharina Floyd tied for second in the state with Kayla Smith of Williams at 6-over-par.
“You finish second and it just makes you think about how close you were even more,” said Floyd. “You want to win, but second place for the first time. … I’m very, very, very happy with it. I’ve got three more chances to play in this so I’m excited about the future.”
Triton’s Kathryn Elliott finished 12th and Peyton LaBonte of Corinth Holders was 15th.