Saipan-born Leina Kim had a rollercoaster first round at the start of the NCAA Division II Women’s Golf Championship hosted by the Grand Valley State University Lakers at the Meadows Golf Course in Allendale, Michigan.
The Colorado State University-Pueblo junior shot a 6-over 78 to join Kasey Petty of Findlay and Lewis’ Rachel Sweeney at 20th spot, according to Day 1 results posted on golfstatresults.com.
Kim, along with Petty and Sweeney, are six shots behind current leader Madison Lellyo of Rollins College’ 2-under 70 while Limestone College’s Brittany LaPadula is at second at 1-under 71.
The former CNMI Junior golfer opened at 1-over but managed to even par after five holes highlighted by rolling a birdie at No. 2. She then parred the next three holes to remain even-par.
She then went 1-under after birdying the par-4 309-yard No. 6 but bogeyed holes No. 7 and 8 to go 1-over again.
Kim parred No. 9 to go 1-over 38 for 13th place after nine holes but she opened the back with consecutive bogeys to go 3-over that dropped her to joint 33rd spot.
Kim went back up 10 places after even-pars at No. 12 and 13, 16, and 17 that sandwiched bogeys at 14 and 15. She bogeyed No. 18 good for 20th spot with still three rounds left.
The Meadows proved to be challenging for Kim, who is CSU-Pueblo’s lone representative in the Nationals, as she finished with four pars and five bogeys.
The Nationals will end on Saturday (Sunday in the CNMI) with Kim aiming to improve or match her 28th place finish when she first qualified as a freshman two years ago.
Last week, Kim needed a birdie putt in the playoff hole to secure the third and final berth in the Division II Nationals after being forced by Dallas Baptist’s Sydney Williams
Kim and Williams finished the three-day regional tournament at Foxtail Golf Club at Rohnert Park in California at 5-over 221.