After enduring a record of 0-5-1 last year, sophomore Kathy Lim rid herself of any leftover demons Monday by winning the individual match-play bracket with a victory over Jessica Reinecke of Wisconsin at the East and West Match Play Challenge.
“(I’m) glad you got that monkey off your back,” Michigan women’s golf coach Jan Dowling told Kathy Lim after her first victory for the Wolverines on Monday in Madison.
Lim, a Canadian citizen of Korean descent, traveled to Seoul, South Korea this past summer to hone her swing while working with top coaches. Changes made during the offseason presented themselves early and often over the weekend, as Lim used her experience to gain an edge.
“I think traveling to all 10 events (last season) really matured me as a person and as a golfer,” Lim said. “So this year I’m ready to tackle anything that’s ahead of me.”
Though Lim found success over the weekend, the Wolverines slowed down after a blazing start in qualifying play. Michigan earned the No. 2 seed thanks in part to performances from sophomore Megan Kim (66, six-under par) and junior Grace Choi (67, five-under), with Kim recording the second-best single-round mark in Michigan history. Overall, the Wolverines posted a four-under 284 in preliminary stroke play, a school record.
“We made a lot of birdies as a team on Sunday,” Dowling said. “The rest of the team (came) through too … It was a lot of fun.”
Michigan could not carry its momentum through to Monday, however, falling to Oregon, 4-1, in the semifinal of match play. The 21st-ranked Ducks took down the Wolverines in five close matches, with Kim notching Michigan’s lone victory.
Kim’s win was significant, though, as she defeated All-American senior Caroline Inglis in a back-and-forth battle.
“(Kim) hung in there the whole day,” Dowling said. “She should take a lot of confidence away from it. She’s a fighter and a competitor, and I don’t know many people that hate to lose more than her.”
Dowling also noted her squad’s resilience, as the Wolverines fought hard on Tuesday in a third-place match with Indiana. Michigan went back and forth with the Hoosiers in nearly identical fashion to its battle with Oregon, with three of the final matches coming down to the wire.
“Unfortunately we didn’t come out on top again (against Indiana),” Dowling said. “But just to go up against a Big Ten team that I have a feeling we’re going to see a lot of (was beneficial).”
Michigan hopes to rebound on Oct. 9 at the Yale Women’s Intercollegiate in New Haven, Connecticut.
Dowling voiced pleasure in the Wolverines’ grit but also noted areas of improvement, notably their short game and unforced errors.
“We’ve got about a three-week break coming up, so we have time to get to work,” Dowling said. “Keep breaking school records, (and) we’ll be good.”