For Danbi Kim, the third time was the charm.
Kim, who missed the cut to the final round the past two years, will play today on the final day of the American Junior Golf Asssociation Otter Creek Junior Championship. She followed an opening-round 77 on Tuesday with a 78 on Wednesday.
At 11-over-par, Kim, who will be a senior at Columbus North, is tied for 15th in the girls field. Grace Ni of Cypress, Texas, leads the tourney at 4-under 140.
Kim, who was 1-over after 15 holes on Tuesday before bogeying the final four holes, looked like she might be headed for her second consecutive rocky finish after a double-bogey and bogey on her 15th and 16th holes Wednesday. But she recovered with a birdie on No. 8 (she started on the back nine), and parred No. 9.
“I’m more happy with how I played today than (Tuesday),” Kim said. “I’m proud overall with how many pars I saved, and I think my head was in the game the whole time today.”
The other local girls entrant, Nathaly Munnicha, carded an 88 on Wednesday to finish 38th at 167. Munnicha, who will be a freshman at North and was the second-youngest golfer in the girls field, had a 79 Tuesday.
Meanwhile, on the boys side, recent North graduate Spencer Fairbanks made the cut after a second-round 77 put him in a tie for 22nd at 3-over 147. Fairbanks, who missed the cut two years ago and did not play in the tournament last year, opened with a 2-under 70 on Tuesday.
Fairbanks shot 39-38 Wednesday, finishing both nines with birdies.
“I think I played all right today,” Fairbanks said. “I was hitting my driver fine, just not my approach shots. I just wasn’t hitting it close and wasn’t really making putts.”
Drew Smith, who will be a junior at North, bounced back from an opening-round 79 by shooting a 74 on Wednesday morning to give himself an outside shot at making the cut. However, when the afternoon scores came in, Smith ended up missing the cut by two shots.
The boys field was cut to the top 51 and ties, and the girls field was cut to the top 21 and ties. Smith finished in a tie for 61st.
“I wasn’t hitting the ball great, but I finally knocked down at least a couple putts,” Smith said. “I kept myself out of trouble and didn’t lose a ball. Putting wasn’t great, but I got myself around and didn’t miss anything short.”
CJ Jones of Frankfort, Kentucky; Jack Heath of Charlotte, North Carolina; and Charlie Toman of Chardon, Ohio; share the lead at 6-under 138.
Leaders going into today’s final round of the AJGA Otter Creek Junior Championship
CJ Jones;Frankfort, Kentucky;69-69—138
Jack Heath;Charlotte, North Carolina;71-67—138
Charlie Toman;Chardon, Ohio;70-68—138
Brian Istzwan;Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania;72-68—140
Grace Ni;Cypress, Texas;70-70—140
Lauren Beaudreau;Lamont, Illinois;72-72—144
Katie Hallinan;Loveland, Ohio;74-73—147
Caroline Caudill;Clarksville, Tennessee;77-70—147