Adam Woodard July 30, 2023, 3:37 pm ET
CHARLESTON, South Carolina — Bryan Kim won the U.S. Junior Amateur title on Sunday by beating Joshua Bai in the last two holes to win by two strokes.
Kim was in the lead when the 36-hole final was put on hold on Saturday. Kim was in second place when the players returned on Sunday, but she got back in front by winning the 35th hole.
The 18-year-old incoming freshman at Duke from Brookeville, Maryland, got into the 2024 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 for free because of his win.
“It hasn’t hit me yet,” said Kim, who was playing in his third U.S. Junior Amateur but had not made it to match play in his first two. “Especially since I hadn’t cut at a USGA event before this week, it means the world to make the cut and win all six of my matches, especially against so many great competitors.
After rain delayed the start of the final round for three and a half hours on Saturday, Kim had a 1-up lead through 25 holes when play was stopped. This was the first time since 2002 that the final round had to be moved back a day because of the weather at Atlanta Athletic Club.
The 17-year-old Bai quickly won holes 26 and 27 to take the lead when play resumed on the Daniel Island Club’s Ralston Creek Course.
The match was tied before Kim’s 7-foot shot on the 376-yard, par-4 35th hole. Bai missed a long chance to make a birdie, and Kim made a putt to give him a 1-up lead.
Bai’s second shot on the par-5 36th hole, from 250 yards away, went well right of the green. He chipped over the green before letting Kim make a birdie and tie the match.
Bai said, “Bryan won’t get anything less than a par.” “He could even get a birdie, so I figured I had to take a shot, try to get on the green, and either make an eagle putt or get close.
Bai was trying to join Michael Campbell, Danny Lee, and Lydia Ko as the fourth person from New Zealand to win a USGA championship.
Both finalists already have spots in the U.S. Amateur next month at Cherry Hills in the Denver suburbs. Kim also has a spot in the U.S. Amateur at Hazeltine in Minnesota in 2024.
A gold medal One year in charge of the U.S. Junior Amateur Trophy
If they are old enough, exemptions into all future U.S. Junior Amateurs.
Exemption into the 2024 U.S. Open Championship will be held on Course No. 2 at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club in the Village of Pinehurst, N.C.
Exemptions into the 2023 U.S. Amateur Championship at Cherry Hills Country Club in Cherry Hills Village, Colorado, and the 2024 U.S. Amateur Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota.