Gina Kim returns from competitive break to win Harder Hall Women's Invitational
Golfweek 2hrs ago

After 36 holes at the Harder Hall Women’s Invitational, Gina Kim looked poised to run away with it. The Duke junior had an eight-shot lead at Harder Hall Golf Club in Sebring, Florida.

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From there, Kim got a little reckless, to the tune of seven bogeys and a double for a 78, her highest round of the week. She called that third round a reality check on a golf course that may not seem that difficult at the outset, but one that can reach up and bite you.

“I think yesterday even though my score was not that great, I think it just gave me a quick reality check and kind of humbled me and put me back in my place,” Kim said. “I was ready for the challenge. I was glad that I faced all the obstacles yesterday because now I know what not to do today.”

On the last day of the year, Kim rebounded to close out a victory in her first tournament start in more than four months. She played the back nine at Harder Hall in 1 under for a closing 73 and at 1 under for the tournament, finished one shot ahead of Chloe Kovelesky, a Florida teenager.

Scores: Harder Hall Women’s Invitational

Minji Kang was 2 over and in solo third while Florida sophomore Annabell Fuller and San Jose State junior Natasha A. Oon tied for fourth at 5 over.

There are some nuances to competing at the Harder Hall. Its slot on the calendar can mean it is one of the coldest, windiest weeks of competitive golf of the year, Florida location notwithstanding.

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Kim has never competed here, but having been out of stroke-play competition (she competed in the Arnold Palmer Cup before Christmas) since finishing third at the South Carolina Women’s Open on Aug. 16, it seemed a good place to start tuning up for 2021.

“It was definitely very windy and that proved to be the biggest challenge, in my opinion, for this golf course,” Kim said. “I think you have to learn how to manage the windy conditions well and that’s where it helped me win this tournament.”

Kim was also able to focus better in the final round and forget about who else was chasing her or how close they were.

At Duke, which competes in the ACC, there was no fall golf. Kim found competition in the summer – finishing second at the Carolinas Amateur then making match play at both the North & South Women’s Amateur (Round of 16) and U.S. Women’s Amateur (Round of 64). She shelved the clubs in the fall, though, to try to get a leg up on school.

Kim, a psychology major, took five classes in the fall instead of four and hopes that will allow her to reduce her load in the spring when golf hopefully returns.

“I told myself maybe I need this break,” said Kim, who continued to practice.

Kim didn’t just get a refresher in competition this week, she got a refresher in winning.


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