At left, South Korean native Andy Shim, who moved to the U.S. three years ago and now lives in Duluth, smiles as he hoists the trophy Wednesday for winning the Georgia Junior Championship at Doublegate Country Club. Shim led wire-to-wire and won the prestigious event by five shots. At right is GSGA rules official Fred Cox. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ALBANY -- Andy Shim tentatively lifted his Georgia Junior Championship trophy Wednesday afternoon at Doublegate Country Club, almost afraid to show too much emotion.
The Duluth resident's victory speech was less than 10 words long after running away with the three-round tournament and winning by five strokes, and his non-assuming presence went hand-in-hand with his humble smile.
His confidence, however, was through the roof.
"I thought about it even before I played the first round, and I thought I could win this," said Shim, a 17-year-old who moved from South Korea three years ago. "This is the biggest tournament I have won, and it feels pretty good. There were a lot of really good players out here, so it was tough. It just feels really awesome."
Shim snagged the opening-day lead with a 66 and never looked back, finishing the tournament with a 2-under 70 and beating last year's champion, Greyson Sigg, by five shots. Sigg, a 17-year-old from Augusta who won last year's title on his home course, shot a 4-under 68 Wednesday for the low-round of the day, but it wasn't enough to catch Shim, who finished with an 11-under 205.
"It's hard to come back from that far down," said Sigg, who was seven shots back entering the final round. "You just have to go out there and try to shoot 66 or go as low as you can. It just depends on what (Shim) does. You never know."
Shim, Sigg and the rest of the top eight golfers qualify to compete in the Georgia-South Carolina Challenge Match in July, and Shim earns an exemption into the Georgia Amateur Championship.
Shim had two eagles, five birdies, one bogey and one double bogey on Monday to take a four-shot lead into the second round. Shim continued his strong play Tuesday with five birdies and two bogeys, and then finished the tournament Wednesday with five birdies and three bogeys.
"I was hitting a lot of greens," Shim said. "I didn't miss a lot of fairways, and my irons were sticking to within 10 feet. I was bound to make some of (the birdie putts)."
Suwanee's Harry Lambert also earned a spot in the Georgia-South Carolina match by finishing in the top eight.