With her golfing accomplishments, Kim Kaufman has put Clark, S.D., on the map. 2012 was a very good year for Kaufman, and if things come together next fall, she could possibly become a household name.
But that could be called putting the cart before the horse, and Kaufman has much to do before getting to that point, almost a year down the road.
Right now, it’s qualifying for the NCAA National Tournament with her golfing teammates at Texas Tech University and then graduation from Texas Tech with a political science degree. Kaufman has maintained a 4.0 grade-point average throughout her college career, even with a demanding extracurricular sidebar.
As a graduating senior-to-be, Kim said that she’s really looking forward to her Texas Tech golf team qualifying for the NCAA National Tournament.
“We’ve come really close, twice, making it to Nationals, and it really would be nice to finish college with a trip to Nationals,” said Kaufman.
Qualifying a team to the National NCAA tourney is a two-step process. Sixty teams qualify for the regional tourney, and then the top three teams from each region participate in the national tournament.
“We’ve finished ninth at regions two of my three years. I really feel good about our chances this year, though,” she said.
Following May graduation, Kaufman will pursue her opportunity of a lifetime: Q-school.
“Q-school” is the shortened term of the LPGA qualifying school, a laborious, lengthy process to see whether or not a golfer is eligible to gain their card which allows one to golf on the pro golf circuit.
Kaufman explained that Q-school has three different stages, in Florida, from September through December.
“My goal is to stay consistent. I feel I will have to look to shoot par,” she said of the rigorous competition, courses and amount of play.
The past several years have been sort of a stepping-stone process Kaufman has been using to get ready for this Q-school competition.
Because of this, she has been rated the No. 1 women’s collegiate golfer in the country by Golfweek Magazine.
Kaufman, a four-time state Class B high school champion in South Dakota, had an excellent fall season for the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
She closed the fall season by averaging 71.5 strokes per round and finished in the top 15–including three top five finishes–in each of Texas Tech’s four fall events. The highlight came when Kaufman shot a 5-under-par 67 to win the rain-shortened Landfall Tradition in Wilmington, N.C.
After the win at Wilmington, she was named the Golfweek Magazine Golfer of the Week. In September, she was named the Big 12 Women’s Golfer of the Month.
In 2012, for the second time in four years, Kaufman won the South Dakota Independent Female Athlete of the Year. She had a tremendous year, both on the college front and in South Dakota tournament play.
In May, she tied for eighth along with teammate Gabby Dominguez in the NCAA Division 1 Championships at Franklin, Tenn. Kaufman earned honorable-mention All-American honors from the National Golf Coaches Association.
Kaufman also reached the match play semifinals in the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship in June, finished third in the Royale Cup Canadian Amateur Championship in July and defended her South Dakota Women’s Amateur Championship at Brookings in August.
All of Clark County and South Dakota will be rooting for Kim to do well at the LPGA Q-school.