New Yorker Ina Kim of Deepdale C.C. fired a one-over-par 72 to earn medalist honors by three strokes over Tara Joy-Connelly of North Palm Beach, Fla., at Sectional Qualifying for the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur on Tuesday, Sept. 5, at Watchung Valley Country Club in Watchung.
The U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur takes place Oct. 7-12 at Quail Creek C.C. in Naples, Fla. On Tuesday, the low eight players in the field of 28 qualified for the Mid-Am and two more earned alternate status.
Callie Kemmer of Washington, D.C. shot 77 for third place followed by Karen Siegel of Maple Glen, Pa. (79), and Patti Hogeboom of Kingston, Ont. (80).
New Jersey was represented by Stephanie Harris of Watchung Valley, who earned the sixth qualifying spot by shooting 82. Amy Loughney of Jersey City grabbed the seventh qualifying spot with a par on the first playoff hole.
She was among five players who shot 83 and played off for the final two qualifying spots and the two alternate spots. The final qualifying spot went to Sue Sardi of Cherry Valley who parred the second playoff hole to gain entrance.
Kim is a native of Los Angeles and stopped playing for 11 years after graduating in 2005 from Northwestern University where she was a member of the golf team. Working in finance, she lived in London and Hong Kong before moving to Manhattan two years ago. She was a talented junior golfer and finished as the runner-up in the 2000 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship.
Kim has been playing since she was six years old.
She rekindled her interest in golf through her fiancé, Ian Schaad, a member at Bayonne Golf Club. Over the past year-and-a-half, Kim has won the WMGA/MGA Women’s Met Amateur Championships in 2016 and two WMGA Stroke-Play titles.
“The greens are tricky here. They break a lot. They are quick and lightning fast going downhill,” said Kim, 33, who played this year in the U.S. Amateur Championship in San Diego, but failed to make the cut. She hit 17 greens yesterday.
“I have a good short game, but I’d like to get my putting together before going to Quail Creek. I am really looking forward to going to the Mid-Am. The ladies are so much fun to play with. It’s an honor to be medalist,” she said.
Joy-Connelly, 44, has been to numerous U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateurs and was runner-up in 2014 and 2011. A native of Boston, she has lived in Florida for three years and was Florida State Golf Association Player of the Year in 2015.
“With so much rain, this course was in great shape. You’ve got to keep the ball below the hole here,” Joy-Connelly stated.
Her husband, J.P. Connelly, is director of golf at Frenchman’s Reserve in Florida.
Harris, 47, is a native of Buckingham, Pa., and graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson in Florham Park. The New York City resident has recorded a personal best of 77 at Watchung Valley.
“This is the first time I’ve qualified for a USGA event. I’m psyched to be going to Quail Creek. I had some home-field advantages today,” Harris said.
Harris is an entrepreneur in the wine industry and will launch her brand, Maven Wines, this fall.
“This was a fun setup today. There were a few new tee boxes that made it fun for me and gave me a different look at the course,” she said.
Loughney , 31, qualified for the U.S. Mid-Amateur for the fourth straight year. The native of Allentown, Pa., also played in the U.S. Amateur while a collegiate at Bucknell University. This summer, she played in the NJSGA Women’s amateur and reached the Round of 16.
She is an operations analyst for Goldman Sachs.
Sardi, 61, was a medalist last year for the U.S. Senior Amateur and will be playing in her first U.S. Mid-Amateur.
She is a native of Fort Lauderdale, but long-time resident of Skillman.
“I’m so excited to be going to Quail Creek. I’ll be staying with my best friend from Cherry Valley, Peggy Ference, who lives down there,” Sardi said.
Ference is a former NJSGA Women’s Senior Amateur champion (2012).