Lauren Kim’s first golf clubs were a plastic set her parents bought her when she was a child.
When she took a strong shot at her new TV, her parents knew it was time to take her to the family driving range.
“I fell in love with the game,” said Kim, whose parents own Peace Arch Driving Range in South Surrey, B.C. It was passed down from his grandparents and has been in the family for over 30 years.
Kim, 17, is dominating women’s golf at the Canada Summer Games, shooting a 67 to break the single-round Games record in Wednesday’s opening round at the Legends on the Niagara Battlefield Course in Niagara Falls , Ontario. He followed that up with a 68 on Thursday.
At 9-under 135, she takes a five-stroke lead over BC teammate Tina Jiang into the third round.
Kim, who is committed to the University of Texas for 2023, looked like he couldn’t miss in Round 1, shooting eight birdies.
“I would definitely say my putting was really strong, I only had 25 putts and my approach game was really strong as well,” he said. “I put shots close to the holes to make it easier to make those putts and all those birdies.”
Kim had four birdies in a bogey-free round Thursday.
“Today, it wasn’t horrible, I didn’t have too many mistakes,” he said. “The score today was pretty even. I just couldn’t drop any putts before until I think my 12th or 13th hole, I hit a 30-footer, and that’s what really got me going, and then I made a couple more.
“I think my putting has really kept me in the game.”
Despite his substantial lead, Kim isn’t pulling ahead.
“I don’t usually think about it like I’m in charge, I better do something, I always take it one shot at a time and try to stay in the moment and keep my body and mind in the present,” he said.
Kim, who began competing in golf at age 10, reaching the regional finals of the Drive, Chip and Putt competition at that age, played her first US Women’s Open in June.
While the depth of field at the Canada Games doesn’t compare to that tournament, where she missed the cut, Kim said the multi-sport experience of the Games is at the top of her list.
“Being around all these players for different sports, being surrounded by them, it’s a really great environment,” he said. “It’s really nice, I get to see other athletes, not just golfers.”
The single-round Games record fell for the men’s team on Thursday. Logan Graf of Sylvan Lake, Alta., shot a 65 to move up eight spots in the leaderboard. He’s in a two-way tie for third.
Guillaume Paquette of Quebec leads at 6 under par, followed by Ryan Holwell of Newfoundland and Labrador. The 18-year-old Graf, who shot eight birdies, is tied with Cooper Humphreys at 4 under.
“It was a big change from (Wednesday), the short game was the big difference,” Graf said of his improvement from the first round. “So it’s good to turn it around.”
Graf was five shots back after his first-round 75, but he didn’t let a disappointing day dampen his optimism.
“I know it’s a four-day tournament and it always changes a lot for the tournament,” he said. “It’s a lot of golf. So I was just waiting for a round like today to come, and I knew four days was a long time to let good golf go by, so I was pretty optimistic after (Wednesday).
Leonie Tavares, a 12-year-old girl from Quebec, is the youngest golfer in the field. She shot a 1-under 71 on Thursday and is alone in sixth place, just two shots out of the top three.
Ontario leads the medal standings with 132 total podiums and 53 gold medals. Quebec ranks second with 99 overall medals and 33 golds.
BC is third in medals (87) but fourth in gold medal wins (23), with Alberta having two more golds, but 15 medals overall behind BC for fourth.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on August 18, 2022.
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