Notebook: Kim Finally Loses at Olympic
By Alex Miceli
San Francisco - Sihwan Kim won his eight consecutive match at The Olympic Club’s Lake Course on Thursday morning. In 2004, Kim won the U.S. Junior Amateur at Olympic, winning 33 of 55 holes in six matches in a combined 9 over par.
During his second visit to Olympic this week, Kim was on a much better pace, winning his first match, 1 up, en route to a 4-under score. He won five holes and lost four. In his second match against Trevor Murphy, Kim won seven holes and lost only two during an even-par match given the usual concessions.
For Olson, 20, a sophomore at UNLV, the win was sweet because he had lost to Kim at the California State Amateur earlier this summer and wanted a chance at payback.
"I knew he was going to be really tough," Olson said. "He's a great player and he's had an 8-0 record on this golf course. And I knew he was going to be a really tough competitor to beat. And my whole game plan this week was fairways and greens."
Early on Olson didn’t stick to his game-plan while falling 2 down after four holes. Eventually he would claw his way back on two separate occasions after a par 4 on the sixth hole, and then again on the 12th hole after Kim hit a tree off the tee and had to play his second shot from the rough near the fifth green.
Olson would take the lead for the first time in the match after hitting his second shot to within 2 feet while Kim played from behind the green in three and missing his chip to halve the hole.
Olson, who drove the ball well on the back nine, made a bad swing on the 17th. After not being able to get his second shot back to the fairway, Olson opened the door for Kim to make a comeback.
"You might as well just put it in 6-inch rough and step on it; that's how bad it was," Olson said. "I didn't want to punch out, because if I did I would have had 220 [yards] in. That's no bargain."
Stepping to the 18th, Kim seemed to have the momentum. Olson, though, hit the perfect tee shot in the left part of the fairway. But his second shot up the hill to the small 18th green was woefully short, and the bunker shot for his third left Olson with a 30 footer, which he just missed. Fortunately for Olson, Kim hit his tee shot right - into the first cut and up against the next cut. His wedge shot hit a pine tree that leans back into the fairway. Kim would not make his up and down from the right greenside bunker and the match turned to the 19th hole, played on No. 1, a par 5.
"Well, so far this week I haven't done very well on the first hole," said Olson, who won the match on a lipped-out 4-footer by Kim. "I missed the fairway I think almost every day. And I just stepped up there I just told myself, ‘Find a way to get this ball in the fairway. Just do whatever you can.’ And I did and because then I would have had an opportunity to go for the green in two. And that's what I did."
Olson’s par after just laying up short of the green in two was sealed when his chip shot of some 50 feet hit the hole. He made the 8-foot comebacker to move on and send Kim packing.
"Mentally, it's been such a grind today," said Olson of playing in two matches on Thursday. "Especially the second matches. It's been up and down the whole day and I'm exhausted and can't wait to get some sleep."
After winning his first match 1 up over Olympic Club member Randy Haag, Darek Fathauer made a bold statement in Thursday’s second-round match by defeating Walker Cupper Chris Kirk, 7 and 6. Fathauer didn’t have to contend with the 18th hole Thursday morning like he did in Wednesday’s first round, making a 5-footer for par to advance to the second round.
On Thursday morning, Fathauer played almost flawless golf with only 3s and 4s on his card, recording a 2-under-par total through 12 holes. Over the same 12-hole stretch Fathauer won eight of the 12 holes, losing only the par 3 eighth to a birdie by Kirk, his lone bright spot in a 6-over effort.
One issue for Fathauer is the par-3, 247-yard second hole. In the first two matches, Fathauer is yet to par the hole with two bogeys, but would make a birdie in his 6-and-4 win over Jason Kokrak to advance to the quarterfinals.
Gamesmanship is a large part of match play, so when Cheng Tsung Pan hit out of the right greenside bunker on the par-3 13th hole out of turn it gave Derek Ernst some options. Ernst could say nothing if the shot was wayward or he could request the shot be taken over if it was a good result. Ernst was 3 down going into the 13th so anything he could do to stem Pan’s momentum was required.
Pan’s second shot at the par 3 was not only good, but great, and found the bottom of the hole. So Ernst did the logical thing and asked Pan to replay the shot. Unfortunately for Ernst, while the second time didn’t have the same result, Pan he did convert the 15-footer for par as Ernst made his bogey 6 to fall 4 down. He eventually lost the match, 5 and 4.
Alex Miceli is a writer for the Golf Press Association whose work has appeared previously on www.usamateur.org.