Grace Kim smiles during her round of 64 triumph. Photo: USGA
You never know from which direction your next challenge comes in competitive golf.
But for Grace Kim this was the next level strange.
The bustling Sydneysider today rode to the round of 32 with the US Girls & Amateur in Wisconsin, but not before a really bizarre incident during her win over American prodigy Alexa Pano.
Unfortunately from an Australian perspective, Kim was left alone to fly the flag after Maddison Hinson-Tolchard, number 2, from Perth was one of the many seeds who became victims on the first day of the knockout game at SentryWorld.
Hinson-Tolchard led her match against the American Caroline Hodge to the 18th tee.
But one day after her exciting joint course record 65, the Gosnells member took a bogey in the final line, then another one on the 19th to fall for the second consecutive year on the 64th hurdle.
However, Kim took her game a lot higher after qualifying as the 15th seed.
The Avondale member later admitted a few nerves about playing Pano, the 14-year-old already a veteran of various LPGA Tour events, including the US Women & # 39; s Open 2019.
But she didn't have to fear.
Kim burst out of the blocks with birdies on the first, second and fourth holes to race to a lead of 3 over the young Floridian.
And it was shortly thereafter that the game took a strange turn.
Pano & # 39; s caddy, made available locally and not previously known to her, received a warning from a walking official after some unusual behavior, including towards Kim & # 39; s looper.
And after a final oddity, Kim remembered, Pano fired her caddy on the spot, took her pin sheet, yardage book and bag in her own control and carried her own sticks for the remainder of the competition.
"Alex was very nice about it, she came by and really apologized because it seemed like her caddy had tried to play brain games," Kim said.
"She just fired him … it was really strange there for a while."
However, the drama did not affect Kim's play.
The Youth Olympic champion was four under par and 5-up by the time she made her first real mistake on the 12th, but lost another hole en route to a relatively comfortable 4 & 3 victory.
"I could have watched the entire front nine," Kim enthusiastically.
"Today many putts came in (and compared to the qualifying rounds) I was able to visualize putts much better."
Fresh from her Karrie Webb scholarship experience in nearby Minnesota in June, Kim then plays Chun-Wei Wu in Taiwan in the round of 32, from 11.21 pm tonight (Sydney time).
"I just stay aggressive with my lines, especially with my putting … I love match play."