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Posted April 4, 2019, 6:39 pm
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Former area resident Dylan Kim misses cut at Augusta National Women’s Amateur

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    Dylan Kim tees of on the 10th during a the first round of the Augusta National Women's Amateur tournament at Champions Retreat Golf Club in Evans, Ga., Wednesday April 3, 2019. [CHRIS THELEN/SPECIAL]

In a way, it was a homecoming for Dylan Kim when she made her return to Augusta this week.

The last time Kim was on the course at the Champions Retreat Golf Club, she was just a kid. Being back brought some familiar memories of growing up and chasing her golf dream.

Playing at Augusta National motivated her to want to show out on her former home course at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur this week. Unfortunately, she missed the cut by two strokes, shooting 5-over 149 in the first two rounds.

“It meant a lot and I’m really grateful they put on the event for us and gave us the opportunity to play,” Kim said. “Gave us the opportunity for us to play at Augusta National. They put on a great event for us and it meant a lot to come out to this tournament.

“It was great to come back and play the same course that I played on as a kid.”

Kim, 22, was joined by her father, James, who caddied for her, and he was just as happy to return to a familiar course for such a big event.

“Well, you know we were obviously excited about it,” he said. “It’s the course she grew up on, we played here for three to four years. I love the course, I regret leaving. You don’t find something like this other places so, yeah, we were very excited about it.

“Obviously a big thing for girls golf and her golf so yeah we appreciated the magnitude of what this means for women’s golf.”

Kim, a senior at Arkansas, was feeling optimistic after the front nine Thursday. She was 2-under for the round (1-over overall), going into the turn. But it was bogeys on 11, 14, 15 and 16 that knocked her out of contention. The top 30 advanced to the final at Augusta National. There was an 11-player playoff for 10 spots, to determine who would advance.

Aside from the chance to play at the home of the Masters, this tournament was a pivotal point for Kim as her game had been in a slump. Her father was hoping playing on a familiar course would help get her back into a rhythm. And despite missing the cut, it was a successful event from that perspective.

“She’s struggled the last couple of months, so I was hopeful that familiar surroundings would bring back some memories,” he said. “But a little short today. She fought hard, we’re proud of her.”

With her coming up on the end of her college career, each finish in the remaining events she has becomes increasingly important if she hopes to continue on the LPGA Tour.

But James Kim was quick to say that they aren’t looking that far ahead. For now it’s about getting ready for her next college event, then nationals – which the University of Arkansas hosts – and then graduation.

Dylan Kim is no stranger to playing in big events throughout her career. She qualified for the Augusta National Women’s Amateur thanks to her No. 20 Women’s Golf Amateur Ranking.

In her amateur career, she’s competed in the U.S. Women’s Open three times (2015, 2017 and 2018). She was a runner-up in the 2017 Women’s Western Amateur and 2018 Canadian Women’s Amateur and was also named to the U.S. Palmer Cup team for the second consecutive year.

Through all of her success, nothing would have stood out quite like competing in the final round at Augusta National. Fortunately, she will get to participate in the practice round on Friday. So in a way, she will still get to play the Masters course.

She’ll get to play her favorite hole (No. 13) and tee up on No. 16, the hole that holds her favorite Masters memory of her favorite male golfer, Tiger Woods’ famous chip back in 2005.

After that, it’s back to school to finish her college career and consider whether she continues with golf or pursue a career in economics, her major at Arkansas.

“I would love to play professionally. I don’t know what that would bring, but I would love to do that one day,” Dylan Kim said.