Leina renews bid to join pro ranks

Leina Kim is seen here posing with an official from CSU-Pueblo golf team after competing in last year’s NCAA Division II national finals. (Contributed Photo)

Leina Kim is seen here posing with an official from CSU-Pueblo golf team after competing in last year’s NCAA Division II national finals. (Contributed Photo)

Leina Kim has been considering turning pro and joining the Ladies Professional Golf Association someday since she started college at Colorado State University-Pueblo a few years ago.

But last year, the former Marianas Baptist Academy student had doubts if she has what it takes to make it to the professional ranks.

“I have thought about [the LPGA] since before I came out to college. But last year, I felt like I couldn’t make it because of how inconsistent my game was,” said Kim, in an interview with CSU-Pueblo Today’s Sydney McIntyre. “One day I will be shooting 73 and the next day I’ll shoot 83. I felt that I didn’t have what it takes to become a professional.”

However, a chance to play in the 2014 Judson Collegiate Invitational & The Legends Tour at the Country Club of Roswell in Roswell, Ga. last June helped her regain her confidence and encourage her to work harder on achieving her dream of becoming a pro after seeing and talking to some of the greatest women’s golfers, including American ladies golf legends Rosie Jones and Cindy Figg-Currier.

“I had a lot of practice. I played with a couple of golf legends out there,” said Kim, who played with the two legends and University of Indianapolis’ Ashtyn Brown in the pro-am event. “They told me the basics of golf. Hearing it from them is like a different story. It just made me realize that I truly have the potential. That I should work harder to become a better golfer,” she added.

Kim then went back to Saipan after the tournament and took advantage of the offseason to practice her game. “I worked really hard [with my game] and even taught some golf to junior golfers on Saipan.”

The 2014 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference fall season began and Kim opened up with a victory at the Samuel Proal Insurance Lady Wolf Pack Invitational and twice reset the single scoring records, 66 and 133, in the next two tournaments.

She went on to win four of the five events in the RMAC fall season and then finished tied for third with teammate Julie Sanchez and Cha Cha Willhoite of the Metro State University Roadrunners in the RMAC #2 Tournament.

“Coming back, I’ve been shooting the way I have been. So I felt like maybe this is some kind of reassurance that’s telling me that I might have the potential to play in the LPGA someday.”

She also topped the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II based on the official statistics posted on golfstat.com where she registered an average score of 71.25.

Kim was named RMAC Golfer of the Year twice in the last two seasons and at the same time won Rookie of the Year honors. She was the first CSU-Pueblo golfer to earn an NCAA All-Super Region honors and she finished 28th overall in the Division II national finals last season. The former CNMI junior golfer took home, too the CSU-Pueblo Athlete of the Year award last year.

“I didn’t know that I won the award, I knew that I was only nominated. So when they called my name I was like, ‘Hey that’s me!’” Kim said. (Jon Perez)

Jon Perez Dayao
This post is published under the Contributing Author. He/she does not normally work for Saipan Tribune but contributes for a specific topic or series.

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