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#USAmateur Qualifying: Applebrook

Kim, Wren advance in U.S. Amateur Qualifying

MALVERN, Pa. — The vibes kept flowing. The red numbers kept falling. And now, good friends David Kim and R.J. Wren will look to keep the good golf going on a national stage.

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The duo advanced in U.S. Amateur Qualifying administered by GAP at Applebrook Golf Club (par 70, 6,665 yards) Monday. Kim earned medalist honors by carding a 4-under-par 136 (66-70). Playing in the same group, Wren finished a shot back with rounds of 67 and 70.

The 122nd U.S. Amateur will take place Aug. 15-21 at The Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, N.J.

“Watching him play well helped me out for sure,” Kim, 23, of Dresher, Pa., said. “We were just feeding off each other. He’s a good friend, so the vibes were right in the group today. It made it nice and relaxed. When he’s making putts, you’ve got to root for him. It’s cool to go [to the U.S. Amateur] with him.”

“We kind of just bounced off each other. We were both hitting the ball really well from tee to green,” Wren, 24, of Morgantown, Pa., added. “He played great. The putter was working for both of us. We didn’t really have that many tough par looks throughout the day. If we were on the green, then we were either going for birdie or had a decent two-putt chance to get par and move on to the next hole. It was just really steady.”

The Kim-Wren pairing remained atop the leaderboard for most of the day. Kim led Wren by a stroke after 18 holes. He navigated Applebrook sans bogey in the morning.

The LuLu Country Club member carded back-to-back birdies on Nos. 2 (par 4, 365 yards) and 3 (par 4, 308 yards): On the former, he buttered a sand wedge 106 yards to 20 feet. Kim two putted on the latter after driving the green. He birdied the slight dogleg right, 369-yard 12th hole by hitting a soft pitching wedge 124 yards to four feet. Kim closed in style. His 9-iron from 149 yards on No. 18 (par 4, 451 yards) peeled off the green’s backstop and drifted to four feet. Kim made good on the birdie putt.

Wren moved to 4 under thanks to back-to-back birdies on Nos. 16 (par 5, 575 yards) and 17 (par 3, 167 yards). A powerful 1-iron from 238 yards on the former led to a two-putt circumstance from 40 feet. His 7-iron on the 17th hole stopped three feet from the cup. The Honeybrook Golf Club member relinquished a stroke on the 18th hole, where his 9-iron from 152 yards perched beyond the green. He missed an eight-footer to save par.

The afternoon offered more of the same smiles and shotmaking from both Kim and Wren. More pressure as the tournament dwindled, too.

“The second round I was more nervous. I was just trying to keep it together,” Kim, who works in purchasing for Vintage Imports, a wine importer and distributor, said. “There were birdies out there if I just hit good shots. After the Philadelphia Open [last week at Philadelphia Cricket Club], I came in with some confidence. I was hitting it well there on a pretty tough golf course. I thought I could put up two good rounds here.”

Starting on the back nine, Kim opened with a birdie on No. 10 (par 5, 532 yards), where he fired a 3-iron 239 yards to the back of the green and two putted. It took 21 holes for a bogey to arrive. Kim totaled three putts on No. 13 (par 4, 453 yards) after pulling a wedge long left. Credit Andrew Kiddie, playing partner John Stevenson’s caddie, for saving Kim from disaster on No. 18. Kim’s drive found the fescue right. The search continued until Kiddie found Kim’s golf ball at the witching hour. Kim hacked out of a covered lie, hit a wedge 69 yards to 20 feet and missed the par putt.

As a result, Wren leapt Kim through the spell of déjà vu. He made a 30-footer for birdie on No. 17 and swept in a two-footer on No. 18 following a sand wedge from 115 yards. While Wren walked away from No. 1 (par 4, 478 yards) with a par after finding the fescue, Kim couldn’t say the same. His 5-iron approach plummeted into the penalty area short of the green. Two extrication attempts translated into an untimely double bogey.

But hey, Wren birdied Nos. 17 and 18 both times. Why couldn’t his competitive compatriot do something similar?

“[My caddie] Wills (Montgomery) reminded me that I birdied Nos. 2 and 3 in the morning. ‘Why don’t you do it again?’ I guess you’re right,” Kim, who graduated from La Salle University a year ago, said.

He did it again. Kim lifted a sand wedge 200 yards to five feet on No. 2. He again drove the green on No. 3 and logged two putts for birdie. Wren, too, converted birdies in that stretch: a wedge 70 yards to two feet on the former, a 3-wood to 25 feet for a two-putt on the latter. He moved to 6 under as a result, but Wren missed a three-footer for par on No. 4 (par 4, 418 yards).

“The nerves got me,” Wren, who works in customer support for BlueGolf, said.

The par 5, 580-yard No. 8 nearly torpedoed qualifying prospects for both Wren and Kim. The former made a double bogey.

“I tried to hit a 5-iron up the right side and just turned it over a little too much. I couldn’t find my ball, so a lost ball there,” Wren said.

Kim, for his part, almost lost a golf ball, too. He blocked a 3-wood into the fescue. Kim, however, found it, played onto the green and two putted for a safe par. Nerves somewhat tempered, adrenaline surfaced on No. 9 (par 3, 146 yards). Kim spun a hard gap wedge to a foot. A tap-in birdie secured his first U.S. Amateur appearance.

“I came in with no expectations today. I just knew I was playing two rounds at an awesome golf course,” Kim said. “I love Applebrook. It sets up well for my game. It was worth the vacation day I guess.”

Worth it for Wren, too. He is also heading to his first U.S. Amateur. Once it became official, Wren, invitation in hand, walked over to Kim and exchanged a hearty bro-hug. “Let’s go” filled the conversation.

“It was good playing with somebody who I knew and was comfortable playing with. I definitely thought it helped,” Wren, a University of Delaware alum, said.

NOTES
Cameron Deiuliis carded his first career hole-in-one during Monday’s opening round. The Makefield Highlands Golf Club member aced No. 9 (par 3, 146 yards) with a pitching wedge. “That was sick dude. That just didn’t happen,” Deiuliis, 20, of Highland, Md., said afterward. Deiuliis is a rising junior at Gettysburg College, where he is a dual major in economics and business … Play was suspended at 3:29 p.m. due to heavy rain. It resumed at 3:51 p.m.

GAP
Celebrating Amateur Golf since 1897, GAP, also known as the Golf Association of Philadelphia, is the oldest regional or state golf association in the United States. It serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. The Association’s 330 Member Clubs and 90,000 individual members are spread across Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.

Qualifiers
Name, city, stateRd1-Rd2-Total
David Kim, Dresher, Pa.66-70-136
R.J. Wren, Morgantown, Pa.67-70-137
Alternates (in order)
*Prescott Butler, Old Westbury, N.Y.70-68-138
*Andy Butler, Philadelphia, Pa.68-70-138
Failed to qualify
Jake McGlone, Charlotte, N.C.73-66-139
Brendan Bacskai, Philadelphia, Pa.68-72-140
Dan Walters, Winston-Salem, N.C.71-69-140
Hayes Brown, Charlotte, N.C.69-73-142
Michael Cook, Berwyn, Pa.74-68-142
Robert Olseski, Wayne, Pa.74-68-142
Kevin Scherr, Nazareth, Pa.69-74-143
Gage Wolfle, Sewell, N.J.70-73-143
Cole Berman, Bryn Mawr, Pa.72-72-144
Thomas Christensen, Coral Springs, Fla.74-70-144
David Hurly, Newtown Square, Pa.71-73-144
Vince Kwon, Marlton, N.J.69-75-144
Brock Fassnacht, Lititz, Pa.71-74-145
Stephen Barry, Mullica Hill, N.J.75-71-146
Ryan Felpel, Lancaster, Pa.73-73-146
Matt Graeff, Blue Bell, Pa.70-76-146
Kristof Kopecky, Garnet Valley, Pa.76-70-146
Christopher Lawler, Philadelphia, Pa.74-72-146
Sebastien Levasseur, Cincinnati, Ohio73-73-146
Dan Bernard, Philadelphia, Pa.74-73-147
Owen Elliott, Cambridge, Mass.72-75-147
Felix Antoine Levasseur, Canada75-72-147
Mark Jackson, West Chester, Pa.72-76-148
Brock Kovach, Wyomissing, Pa.79-69-148
Henry Poston, Los Alamos, N.M.74-74-148
Jason Sigler, Atlanta, Ga.74-74-148
Nelson Hargrove, Haverford, Pa.76-73-149
Avery Papalia, Marlton, N.J.77-72-149
John Olsen, Boalsburg, Pa.71-79-150
J.T. Spina, Schwenksville, Pa.75-75-150
Mark Benevento, Ocean City, N.J.78-73-151
Kevin Eberly, Malvern, Pa.78-73-151
Allan Phillips, Tucson, Ariz.75-76-151
Rye Stinson, Columbia, Md.77-74-151
Dan Arison, King of Prussia, Pa.76-76-152
John Stevenson, Ambler, Pa.75-77-152
Stewart Tankersley, Montgomery, Ala.71-81-152
Keller Mulhern, Exton, Pa.75-78-153
Greg Stebbins, Hoboken, N.J.76-77-153
Cameron Deiuliis, Highland, Md.79-77-156
Sean Coary, Collegeville, Pa.73-85-158
Sean Pass, Ithaca, N.Y.77-81-158
Hunter Stetson, Newtown Square, Pa.71-87-158
Christian Haldeman, Center Valley, Pa.83-76-159
Kaden Kinard, New Castle, Del.75-84-159
Joseph Rueter, Philadelphia, Pa.86-73-159
Joseph Polidoro, Glassboro, N.J.81-79-160
P.J. Schulte, Middle Township, N.J.77-83-160
Jason Mowry, Scranton, Pa.79-82-161
Austin Schreffler, Dillsburg, Pa.81-80-161
Kyle Williams, Clarks Summit, Pa.79-82-161
Todd Baron, Mullica Hill, N.J.80-82-162
Ryan McDevitt, Philadelphia, Pa.84-79-163
Travis Robertson, Singer Island, Fla.84-82-166
Jake Maddaloni, Newtown Square, Pa.81-87-168
Daniel Tennekoon, Bryn Mawr, Pa.86-83-169
Brian Walsh, Wayne, Pa.79-91-170
Tom Maguire, Hopewell, N.J.84-91-175
Joshua Gallagher, Wilmington, Del.NS-NS-NS
Calen Sanderson, Newtown, Pa.NS-NS-NS
Ryan Carroll, Philadelphia, Pa.80-WD-WD
Jack Hamilton, Canada72-WD-WD
Ryan Karstetter, State College, Pa.89-WD-WD
Michael Lenartowicz, Canton, Ohio88-WD-WD
Brenan McAllister, Salisbury, Md.76-WD-WD
Kevin O’Brien, Philadelphia, Pa.WD-WD-WD
Thomas Petrocelli, Quogue, N.Y.86-WD-WD
David Segot, Oyster Bay, N.Y.74-WD-WD
Jack Stamato, Severna Park, Md.81-WD-WD
* – determined in playoff
NS – no show; WD – withdrawal