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Lambert sophomore Im riding high after win at Georgia Women's Amateur
08052020 Sara Im
Lambert High School sophomore Sara Im won the 91st Georgia Women's Amateur, besting the top amateur golfers in the state (For the Forsyth County News)
Sara Im — remember the name.

Im, just a rising sophomore at Lambert, captured an improbable victory two weeks ago, winning the 91st Georgia Women's Amateur in a seven-hole playoff while besting the top amateur golfers in the state.

Im finished with a 3-over 219 across three rounds at The Landings Club in Savannah to carry her into a playoff against Thienna Huynh. 

A good friend of Im's, Huynh played her even through six playoff holes, with both trading birdies on the par 3 hole 3.

"If she ended up winning, I would have been so happy either way. It would have been a win-win for me, and I think she thought the same, too," Im said."It was just a lot of fun. It was probably the most fun I've had during a tournament in a very long time."

Im birdied back-to-back holes when her putt fell and gave her three birdies in four tries on hole No. 4.  

"I knew one of us was going to birdie that hole to win it. I knew this hole was to win it or not," Im said. "I was like, 'Should I do more break on this, should I do less break?' I was freaking out. I was like, 'I need to make this,' because Thienna had already missed her birdie putt, so I was the only one who could change the result of the tournament."

"I was definitely nervous, because there was a ton of people watching us — a lot more than probably you would expect. It was insane. I was like, 'Just trust yourself, hit it straight and get the right speed,' and I did."

Im saw plenty of familiar faces at the tournament. She was paired with Lambert grad and current James Madison golfer Kate Owens, who finished sixth (9-over 225). Lambert alumnus Alison Crenshaw, a rising senior at UGA, finished seventh (10-over 226) and current Lambert teammate Iris Cao tied for 10th (15-over 231). 

Im played close to even for much of the tournament, carding nine birdies and 11 bogeys in three rounds before the playoff, adding just one double-bogey on the first day.

"I'm only 15 right now. Of course I'd be a little scared, because they're all in college and I'm just a rising sophomore," Im said. "I mean, I knew one of them pretty well — Kate Owens. I played with her the first two days, actually, and I had so much fun with her. I love her. She's so nice."

Im's freshman season being cut short because of COVID-19 was particularly disappointing considering the massive amount of talent Lambert had assembled.

Im believes it was enough for the Longhorns to successfully defend their state title.

"Oh, yeah. One hundred percent. I think we definitely could have, but obviously we couldn't with corona and all that," Im said. "We definitely did have the talent. We practiced a lot while we could, but it's sad that we couldn't. I mean, we only got to play one tournament and that was it. That was the end of the season. The sad part is Rachel (Burrell), because she graduated. That's the worst part. She won't be here next year to come play with us and just be there."

Still, Im has been busy this summer. 

Last week, she won the AJGA Junior Open in Tennessee, using a dominant 5-under 67 in the second round to pull away from the field. Back in June, Im finished second at the GSGA Georgia Girls Championship, just four strokes off the lead.

When the time comes to play in college, Im figures to have plenty schools to choose from. Right now, though, Im is simply enjoying her time on the junior golf circuit.

"My dad doesn't want me going past Texas and Duke, unless it's Stanford, but Stanford's a little bit too far," Im said with a laugh. "I wouldn't mind going to any school — even Georgia, I wouldn't mind going to at all. I haven't thought too much about it, though."