Shin rolls to victory in Amateur

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  • Monday, March 3, 2008 1:00pm

Kim Shin of Mountlake Terrace went in front early and pulled away late to win the 106th-annual Pacific Northwest Women’s Amateur golf tournament July 13 at the Wenatchee Golf and Country Club.

Shin, a 21-year-old member at Mill Creek Country Club and a senior-to-be on the University of Washington women’s golf team, defeated Jessi Gebhardt of Bellingham, 7 and 6, in the 36-hole match-play championship.

“I’m very happy with the way I played,” Shin, a 2004 graduate of Shorewood High School, said in a telephone interview. “I’ve been struggling a lot lately, but in my past two tournaments, including this one, I felt like I was making progress.

“I’d worked pretty hard on my game before coming to this tournament,” she said, “so I feel positive about my game right now. And as far as (career) wins, this would probably be one of the biggest.”

Shin started well on Friday, posting pars on the first three holes. Gebhardt, meanwhile, took bogeys on the same three holes, giving Shin an early three-hole margin. That lead grew through the rest of the first 18 holes, and Gebhardt, who just finished her junior season at Oregon State, was 5-down despite posting birdies on Nos. 17 and 18.

Shin then won the first two holes of the second 18 to push her advantage to 7-up, and she kept that margin until closing at the match on the 12th hole.

The victory is a nice turnabout, Shin said, after a junior season at Washington that was “a rough one.”

“It didn’t go so well,” she said of her UW season. “I think I played one good tournament, so it was a struggle. But now I feel like I’m heading in the right direction.”

Shin said she succeeded at the week-long Women’s Amateur largely because her iron play was so strong. The tourney opened with 18 holes of stroke play on both Monday and Tuesday, then two rounds of match play on both Wednesday and Thursday before ending with Friday’s championship.

“I hit a lot of good wedges from 90 to about 120 yards,” she said. “And I was driving the ball a lot better than I had been.

“I felt like I played pretty well (all week),” she added. “I don’t think I was more than a couple (strokes) over (par) on all the rounds.”

Shin said she enjoys match play, “and I think I’m getting better at it.”

“It can be tough at times when you’re down, but it’s also fun because it doesn’t matter (if you do poorly) on a hole,” she said. “It’s just that one hole and it doesn’t carry on to the next hole.”

Next up for Shin will be a U.S. Women’s Amateur qualifier at Bellingham Golf and Country Club. She will be trying for one of seven spots in the national tournament scheduled for Aug. 6-12 at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind.

Shin already has played in two previous U.S. Amateurs, as well as the 2004 U.S. Open as a recent high school graduate.

That latter experience, she said, “was a huge deal for me. But winning this tournament was amazing. This is a very prestigious tournament.”

Rich Myhre writes for The Herald in Everett.

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