Lauren Kim’s first golf clubs were a plastic set her parents bought her when she was little.

When she took a hard shot at their new TV, her parents knew it was time to take her to the family range.

“I fell in love with the game,” said Kim, whose parents own Peace Arch Driving Range in south Surrey, BC. Passed down by her grandparents, it has been in the family for more than 30 years.

The 17-year-old Kim is dominating women’s golf at the Canada Summer Games, shooting a 67 to break the Games single-round record in Wednesday’s opening round at the Legends on the Niagara Battlefield Course in Niagara Falls, Ont. She followed that up with a 68 on Thursday.

At 9-under 135, she takes a five-shot lead over BC teammate Tina Jiang into the third round.

Kim, who has committed to the University of Texas for 2023, seemingly couldn’t miss in Round 1, shooting eight birdies.

“I would definitely say my putting was really strong, I only had 25 putts, and my approach game was really strong as well,” she said. “I put shots close to the holes to make it easier to make those putts and all those birdies.”

Kim had four birdies in a bogey-free round Thursday.

“Today was not terrible, I didn’t have many mistakes,” she said. “The score sheet, it was nice today, too. I just couldn’t hit any shots early until I think my 12th or 13th hole, I hit a 30-footer and that’s what got me going, and then i did some more.after that.

“I think my putting has really kept me in the game.”

Despite her considerable leadership, Kim is not moving forward.

“I don’t usually think like I’m in charge, I’d rather be doing something, I’m always taking that shot after shot and just trying to stay in the moment and keep my body and mind present,” she said.

Kim, who began competing in golf at age 10, reaching the regional finals of the Drive, Chip and Putt competition at that age, played in the US Women’s Open in June.

While the depth of the field at the Canada Games doesn’t compare to that tournament, where she missed the cut, Kim said the multi-sport experience of the Games is at the top of her list.

“To be around all these players for different sports, to be surrounded by them, it’s a really great environment,” she said. “It’s really nice, I can see other athletes, it’s not just golfers.”

Graf sets Games men’s single round record

The Games single-round record fell on the men’s side on Thursday. Logan Graf of Sylvan Lake, Alta., shot a 65 to climb eight spots on the leaderboard. He is in a two-way tie for third.

Guillaume Paquette of Quebec leads at 6-under, followed by Ryan Holwell of Newfoundland and Labrador. The 18-year-old Graf, who shot eight birdies, is tied with Cooper Humphreys at 4-under.

“It was a big change from [Wednesday]the short game was the big difference,” Graf said of his improvement from the first round. “So it’s good to get it back.”

Graf was five shots behind after a first-round 75, but didn’t let a disappointing day dampen his optimism.

“I know it’s a four-day tournament and it always changes a lot for the tournament,” he said. “It’s a lot of golf. So I was just waiting for a round like today to come, and I knew that four days is a long time to allow good golf to happen, so I was very optimistic after (Wednesday).

Leonie Tavares, a 12-year-old from Quebec, is the youngest golfer in the field. She shot a 1-under 71 on Thursday and is tied for sixth, and just two shots out of the top three.

Ranking of medals

Ontario leads the medal standings with 132 total podium finishes and 53 gold medals. Quebec stands in second place with 99 overall medals and 33 gold.

BC is third in medals (87) but fourth in gold wins (23), with Alberta having two more golds but 15 overall behind BC to be fourth.

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