Geuntae Kim of Daegu, South Korea, has verbally committed to play golf for the East Tennessee State University (ETSU) Buccaneers starting in the Fall of 2015. The Bucs have been competing as a member of the NCAA Division I Atlantic Sun Conference since 2005.
The ETSU men’s golf team has won three championships and made four at-large NCAA appearances. Its members are known for their success both on and off the course.
The Bucs earned the No. 1 national ranking and finished No. 3 in the NCAA Championships in 1996. After the 2008-09 season, they were named Academic National Champions by the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) for having the highest team GPA in the nation. The Bucs also earned academic recognition by the GCAA in 2010 and 2011. Currently, ETSU is ranked No. 32 in the Golfweek Team Rankings.
Since joining the IJGA two and a half years ago, Kim has trained intensely at the IJGA while working equally as hard in the classroom at Heritage Academy. Through hours of dedication and effort, Kim was able to make his dream of playing collegiate golf a reality. At the IJGA, Kim and his coaches, former IJGA coach, Ross Prachar and current IJGA coach, Dwight Nevil, worked to formulate specific goals focused on ways to improve his game in effort to make him the most well-rounded and talented player possible.
In addition to regular training, Kim takes advantage the various resources available to him as an IJGA student in pursuit of his dream to play at the next level. Kim increased his tournament experience by playing in 19 IJGT events, six of which he won. During the 2013-2014 season, Kim played in 11 tournaments and finished in the top 10 in all of them.
The summer of 2014 was an extremely busy one for Kim. He completed two online classes to get on the fast track to graduation, and to fulfill all the NCAA requirements for an incoming student-athlete. Kim also competed in many elite-level tournaments across the country. During the summer, he played in four AJGA tournaments, finishing in the top 20 three times. He also competed in the U.S. Junior Amateur qualifier, where he came up two shots short of a qualifying spot after finishing the 36-hole qualifier at 2-under-par 142.
Kim’s most successful outing in the summer of 2014 came at the North & South Junior Championship at Pinehurst No. 8, where he finished in fifth place.
The Fall semester of 2014 was dedicated to intense study for the SAT and TOEFL. Being an international student, Kim was at a disadvantage compared to students whose native language is English, but he did not let that deter him. After multiple attempts at both the SAT and TOEFL, Kim was able to get a score that would satisfy the requirements needed for enrollment.
The college recruitment process for Kim included many peaks and valleys. Throughout his efforts of finding the right school for him, Kim encountered many setbacks. Many of the schools, he contacted did not have spots left on their rosters for a 2015 graduate. Kim was not deterred by the rejections and keep contacting schools. Eventually he connected with ETSU and head coach, Fred Warren.
Kim traveled down to the Jones Cup Invitational on February 2nd, to spend time with Coach Warren, and watch the three ETSU players that were competing, all of which finished in the top 14 of this prestigious amateur tournament. This visit, as well as the numerous hours in training and competition, ultimately lead to Kim earning a spot on the ETSU Men’s Golf Team.
At the IJGA, we value the commitment, dedication and resiliency demonstrated by juniors like Kim and with each year, we are lucky enough to celebrate as students’ dreams become reality.