Marvin Ridge junior golfer DK Kim’s role this season was, in many ways, a little more difficult than last season. As a sophomore, Kim burst onto Union County’s scene by becoming the first Marvin Ridge golfer to win the Southern Carolina 3A/4A conference scoring title. It was a different charge this season, he said, to not only maintain his spot atop the county’s burgeoning golf scene, but to also improve his status as the area’s best golfer, all while having a considerable target on his back.
But, in the end, that’s exactly what he did.
This past spring, Kim again led the county with an average of 37.57 strokes per nine holes and became the first golfer to win consecutive Southern Carolina 3A/4A Golfer of the Year titles since Weddington’s Matt Yelverton claimed his second in 2011. He also fired a fifth-place score of 74 at the Class 3A Midwestern Regional championships to help pace the Mavs to a runner-up finish. The following week, he claimed 17th place at the Class 3A state tournament and played a big role in his team’s third-place effort.
For his efforts, Kim, who committed to N.C. State University on July 9, claimed his second consecutive Union County Weekly Boys Golfer of the Year award, as well.
Kim’s success didn’t come easy, however, especially early in the season.
“Some of the golfers from last year, such as (Porter Ridge’s) Colson (Hoffman) and a couple of my teammates had improved, so the start of the year was kind of rough for me,” Kim said, “but I just started playing golf and started getting better results throughout the year.”
The turning point, said Kim, was when he placed fifth individually at the renowned Palmetto High School Golf Championship in Myrtle Beach (S.C.) in late March.
After holding the lead after the first of three rounds, Kim said he was disappointed that he didn’t win the tournament, but added that he learned to take his season as more of a marathon, rather than pressing his game into a sprint.
That proved to be a helpful lesson entering the conference championship tournament, where he trailed Hoffman by four strokes for the season-long scoring title.
Kim said he found himself behind after not giving the season’s first few tournaments the right amount of focus.
“I don’t know how to explain it,” Kim said. “I just wasn’t in the zone.”
Kim found his focus at the right time, winning the conference title with a 73.
“I’m not much of a leaderboard watcher,” Kim said. “I just try to play my game. If I’m good enough at the end of the day, I’ll win.
“I just try to keep as calm as possible and just think of it as another round of golf. I play a lot of golf, so as long as I practice a lot and I let my body do its thing instead of having my head doing all the work, (I’ll be successful).”