| March 22, 2018

W. Golf: Canadian Contribution

Michelle Kim has provided a strong cornerstone for the Idaho women’s golf program during her freshman season with the team.

Kim joined the squad as the No. 1 junior golfer in Canada and ended her first year as the Big Sky Conference Freshman of the Year.

“She’s been extremely steady and she’s a solid ball-striker and a great putter,” Idaho head coach Lisa Johnson said. “She’s very even emotionally on the golf course, and all of that has translated into good play this year.”

Kim said she was prepared for the jump from junior golf to the NCAA because of her strong performances during her senior year of high school.

“It’s always a big step to go to the next level,” Johnson said. “But her teammates really helped out with that and helped ease her mind when she came to college and helped show her the ropes.”

Kim said the inviting atmosphere of Moscow and the chemistry with her teammates have allowed her to grow during the transition to collegiate golf.

Johnson said Kim has helped strengthen the team’s overall dynamic.

“She fits in with the team very well,” Johnson said. “She’s very positive and she’s an extremely hard worker, so she leads by example.”

Johnson said Kim’s short game has greatly improved over the course of the year. She said one aspect the freshman has struggled with is distance.

“The things that I always stress with Michelle — and that I really hope she’ll continue to work on as she gets older — is playing her own game and playing within herself to get rid of all that noise,” Johnson said. “The more she can believe in herself and trust in herself, the better she’ll score as she gets further into college.”

Kim said training with the Vandal program will allow her to reach her personal goals, which include earning an individual title and her pursuit of a professional career.

“I’m slowly starting to experience a higher level of competition for sure,” Kim said. “I feel like college golf is slowly helping me prepare for the professional life that I want to go into after I graduate.”

Johnson said the freshman has the talent and potential for a professional career.

“You have to be extremely confident in your game and have a very strong technical game, but you have to put in lots and lots of hours of practice,” Johnson said. “Michelle is a hard worker, but in a college environment it’s not as easy to practice as much as you do once you get into the professional level.”

Johnson said Kim’s experience as a member of the Canadian National Women’s Golf team provides the freshman with a new realm of coaching guidance.

“She has a national team coach and they go to training camps in the South for the winter and they’re required to play in certain events, so she gets a whole new level of coaching,” Johnson said. “She’s a very coachable person and she’s very good at filtering what she likes from all of her coaches, which is the sign of a good athlete.”

Kim said she hopes to improve herself as an individual during the remaining three years of collegiate competition.

“I really want to use these next three years to help me prepare for turning professional,” Kim said. “I know the University of Idaho women’s golf program can help me get there.”

Mihaela Karst can be reached at arg-sports@uidaho.edu

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