Ghim makes a splash in first major

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Photo Credit: Stephanie Martinez-Arndt | Daily Texan Staff

Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia.

And Doug Ghim.

Texas’ senior linksman put himself in exclusive company last weekend by finishing as the low amateur at the Masters, thus sharing a distinction also once held by some of golf’s biggest names. By the time Saturday morning broke at Augusta, every other non-professional had been wiped out of the field, leaving the 21-year old Ghim as the lone survivor.

After concluding play at plus-8 and 50th on the final leaderboard, Ghim delivered an encouraged-yet-unsatisfied analysis of his performance.

“It was a big step in the right direction,” Ghim said. “There were a lot of positives. But then again, I lost by 23 strokes. So (there is) plenty to work on. I know I’m better than eight over par.”

As if the hills of Augusta weren’t a formidable enough foe, Ghim was also forced to compete with anticipatory jitters — not a surprising state for a college kid entering his first pro event.  

“You never really know what it’s going to be like out there as a competitor until you are,” Ghim said. “I guess I expected to be nervous but I didn’t expect to be as nervous as I was shaking. My hands were sweating at the first tee.”

Despite the intimidating environment, Ghim had the advantage of having a familiar voice in his ear for the entirety of the tournament — his father Jeff, who was tasked with lugging his son’s golf bag across 72 holes. When asked which part of the experience he will cherish the most, Ghim pointed the moment of embrace he shared with his dad after chipping in for eagle on the last hole of the tourney, after which his father smothered him with a rib-crushing hug.

“The hole-out on 18, just experiencing that with my dad on the bag was special,” Ghim said. “Just to be in that moment of spotlight with my father is something I will never forget.”

Since his strong outing, Ghim has enjoyed semi-celebrity status on the 40 Acres. Once a secondary player, he now finds himself showered with picture requests and applauses in his classes. But despite the newfound fame, Ghim claims to be solely focused on returning to the team and adding another conference title to the trophy case.

“Much of the spring has been leading up to last week, but that is not the most important thing on my mind,” Ghim said. “I wouldn’t be here if meaning Big 12 and national championships didn’t mean anything to me.”

Ghim and Texas will compete in the Big 12 Tournament at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma, from April 23–25.