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Different Strokes for the Kims

July 30, 1999|JOHN ORTEGA

Harvard-Westlake High might be heavily favored to win the Southern Section girls' golf title in the fall were it not for Hana Kim's aversion to attending a large private school.

Kim's sister, Ina, helped Harvard-Westlake to a third-place finish in the inaugural girls' team championships last fall, but don't expect the Encino residents to play for the same team later this year.

Hana, a senior, said she will remain at Brentwood High and Ina, a junior, will return to Harvard-Westlake.

The Kims would give any high school a quality 1-2 punch. Hana is ranked 30th in the latest Golfweek-Titleist Junior Amateur rankings and Ina is 47th.

"She wanted to go to a big school and I wanted to go to a small one," Hana said. "She likes the big-school atmosphere, so she went to Harvard-Westlake. I like the feel of a small school, so I went to Brentwood."

Brentwood, whose enrollment is one-third of Harvard-Westlake's, doesn't field a girls' golf team. But Hana will be eligible to play in various individual tournaments in November.

Hana tied for second in the CIF-Southern California Golf Assn. individual championships last year, but she and Ina missed the tournament in June at the SCGA Members' Club in Murrieta because they were playing in the Polo Golf Junior Classic at Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

With the CIF-WSCGA girls' championships in November instead of June during the next school year, the Kims could be pitted against each other. But they don't expect that to have a negative effect on their relationship.

"We have a really healthy attitude on the golf course," Hana said. "We're really supportive of each other.

"When she plays bad, I'm there to console her. And when I play bad, she's there for me, too.

"It's not like we're in a situation where one of us is trying to beat the other to get more attention from our parents."

The Kims won the overall division of the SCPGA Foundation Junior Golf Four-Ball Championship at Oceanside Golf Course in April and have been busy this summer.

In June, Hana placed third at 71-73-73--217 in the Mission Hills Desert Junior tournament at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage and tied for fifth at 75-73-75--223 in the Las Vegas Founders' Legacy Junior championships in Henderson, Nev.

Ina was eighth at 75-78-74--227 in the Las Vegas tournament.

The Kims and Saki Uechi of Panorama City tied for 21st at 309 in the 15-17 division of the Junior World Championship on the North Course at Torrey Pines Country Club in La Jolla last week.

The Kims qualified to play in the U.S. Junior Amateur Girls' National Championship at Green Spring Valley Hunt Club in Ownings Mills, Md., from Aug. 3-7.

Hana has been selected to play in the in the girls' division of the American Junior Golf Assn. Cannon Cup at Long Cove Club in Hilton Head, S.C., from Aug. 9-12.

The Canon Cup pits 10 of the top junior golfers from west of the Mississippi River against 10 of the top junior players from east of it.

The level of competition in the U.S. Junior Amateur and Canon Cup is superior to that of the Southern Section or CIF-WSCGA championships, but Ina Kim still has an affinity for the girls' high school game.

"At first, I thought there weren't going to be any good players in the high school matches," she said.

"But there were some pretty good players out there and I'm sure it will continue to get better."

Kim expects Harvard-Westlake to make a run for the title this year as all eight players are expected to return for a Wolverine squad that finished 10 strokes behind first-place Irvine University and two shots back of runner-up Fullerton Rosary in the Southern Section championships last November.

"I hope we're going to improve," Ina said. "I'm hoping that maybe we're going to get first this year."

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