Draper golfer part of second-place all-star team
Nov 06, 2018 03:00PM
● By Jana Klopsch
By Catherine Garrett | [email protected]
Thirteen-year-old Peter Kim, of Draper, was part of the Ranches All-Stars who finished second at the Professional Golfers Association Junior League Regional Golf Tournament Sept. 29–30 at the Home Course in DuPont, Washington.
Peter’s 10-player co-ed team — captained by Tele Wightman, head PGA professional at the Ranches Golf Club — led by 1 ½ points after the first two sessions to begin the tournament, but lost 7 to 5 to the Bellingham (Washington) Skagit All-Stars on the final day. The Ranches All-Stars is made up of junior golfers 13 and under from the greater Eagle Mountain area.
“I thought I played well and I tried my hardest,” Peter said. “I played solid golf both days, and it was just so much fun knowing what I can do when I play golf.”
Wightman said Peter was his All-Stars team’s best player, who blanked his opponents throughout his rounds and only yielded up a point in the final pairing, yet he still won 2-1. “He’s a special talent and is just so good,” Wightman said. “He was the best 13-year-old there at regionals and would have been one of the best had we made nationals. We definitely wouldn’t have been close to making it without him.”
Despite golf being an individual sport, Peter was thrilled with the team aspect of this event. “I didn’t realize playing on a team could be so much fun,” he said. “We played a great team and my congratulations goes out to them, but I still think we are better. In order to win sometimes you need a little luck. The other team had luck that day, and our team just had a bad day. Hopefully, the Utah team will advance next year.”
Wightman said his 12-member team was a strong favorite going into regionals. “We went pretty far and this was a great group of kids,” he said. “It was tough to end that way with our really, really good team, but the Washington team made some great shots and really good putts.”
The Ranches All-Star team was formed at the end of the regular season of local PGA Junior League tournaments. Area players Quin Abbott, Boston Bracken, Parker Bunn, Emmitt Harris, Sean Lampropoulos, Toatele Ofahengaue, John Rooker, Urben Satiu, Jackson Shelley and Peter were coached by Wightman and won the Utah PGA Junior Section Championship at Glenmoor Golf Course in South Jordan Aug. 10, advancing to the regional tournament in Washington.
“It was my first year playing in this tournament,” Peter said. “It was so fun; a truly incredible experience. I couldn’t have done it without my coaches Tele Wightman and Julie Wightman. I’m really grateful for all of the people that made these opportunities possible, especially my parents. I would never had had the chance to play golf if it wasn’t for their support.”
Peter has been playing the sport for more than four years. When he was nine, he competed in his first tournament at Eagle Lake Golf Course and shot a 10 over 78.
“I didn’t know how important the short game and putting was at the time,” he said. “So, when I went out on the course, I hit drives out there very well, far better than the other kids. But, when I got to the putting green, I couldn’t put the ball in the hole and hit every putt too hard. Reminds you of ‘Happy Gilmore,’ huh?”
Since then, Peter has competed in tournaments around the country and four internationally. In 2017, he won the Swire Cup Invitational at Thanksgiving Point, competing against 11- to 18-year-olds, by shooting a 69. He successfully defended his title this year with a score of two-under-par 70.
“I love to golf because when I do, I feel like I am my best self,” Peter said. “I get inspired by how much fun and energy there is on the PGA tour.”
Peter said he is dedicated to continuing to improve in the sport with his eyes set on individual and team championships in high school golf and further opportunities to play in college and beyond.
“Peter sets the example for those around him with his focus and determination,” Wightman said. “He’s a fantastic player, but an even better person.”