Lion Kim Won't Defend APL Title

By David Shefter, USGA
April 11, 2011

Lion Kim, the 2010 APL champion, won't be defending his title this summer at Bandon Dunes Resort because he plans to join a private club following his graduation from the University of Michigan in June. (Robert Walker/USGA)

Reigning U.S. Amateur Public Links champion Lion Kim, who expects to graduate from the University of Michigan in June, won’t defend his title this summer at the Bandon Dunes Resort in Oregon.

The 21-year-old from Lake Mary, Fla., said on Monday that he plans to join a private club following graduation, thus making him ineligible for the APL, which is scheduled for June 27-July 2.

“I have visions of playing professional golf after graduation and I feel like I need to find a place where I can really improve my game,” said Kim, who was driving back to Ann Arbor on Monday after competing in the Masters. “I found a place down in Lake Mary. I’m a little disappointed that I won’t be making the trip out there [to Bandon Dunes], but I’m doing what I need to do. I feel like it’s best for me and my family.”

Last July, the Korean-born Kim defeated David McDaniel, 6 and 5, in the APL final at Bryan Park Golf & Conference Center in Greensboro, N.C. That victory earned him an invitation to the 2011 Masters, where he posted rounds of 76-72 and missed the 36-hole cut by two strokes.

Kim made a strong run at making the cut, but couldn’t get any birdie putts to drop on Augusta National’s second nine in Friday’s second round. After birdieing the eighth hole, Kim made nine straight pars before bogeying No. 18 to finish at four over par. Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, the reigning Asian Amateur champion, was the only amateur of the six in the field to play the weekend. Kim’s 148 total, however, was better than two of the other three amateurs who received Masters invitations via USGA competitions. David Chung, the 2010 U.S. Amateur runner-up, tied Kim by shooting 72-76, while U.S. Amateur champion Peter Uihlein shot 72-77, and U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Nathan Smith shot 75-77.

Kim’s spring plans include finishing up his general studies degree and completing his eligibility on the Michigan men’s golf team, which was the NCAA Division I runner-up in 2009. Michigan still has the Big Ten Conference Championship and NCAA regionals remaining on the schedule. If all goes well, Kim will be at Karsten Creek in Stillwater, Okla., in late May for the NCAA Division I Championship.

“Right now I’ve got school in mind and I want to graduate,” said Kim, who has three exams and three papers awaiting him on his return from the Masters.

Kim’s post-college plans include competing in U.S. Open sectional qualifying and possibly the PGA Tour’s John Deere Classic in July on a sponsor’s exemption. Should Kim decide to use his APL exemption to avoid U.S. Open local qualifying, he would have to play the Open as an amateur if he qualified.

He indicated that he might also try to Monday qualify for a couple of PGA Tour or Nationwide Tour events this summer as he prepares to enter PGA Tour Qualifying School in the fall.

Nevertheless, Kim said he was proud to be a USGA champion and cherished the opportunities it has brought his way.

“It’s quite an honor to realize you are a USGA champion,” he said. “These last couple of months have been fun. All the attention you get from being the national champion has been great. And I’m proud to call myself a USGA champion.”

David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. E-mail him with questions or comments at 


Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image

The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.

Chevron image

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.

Rolex image

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website,, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit

AmEx image

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit

AmEx image
American Express

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit

AmEx image