Kaiser graduate Malia Nam started her college career in style. She came one shot away from a co-win in her first collegiate golf tournament.
I wasn’t expecting it at all,” said Nam, now home in Hawaii for part of the summer. “I put up two good rounds. So I knew I was in contention. There was this one girl, Patty. She eagled the last hole to beat me out by one. I think it was good because I learned it’s not easy like that. My first event I can’t show up and win.
Name wouldn’t cross the finish line in first in her first year but still put together an impressive first year. She totaled eight top-12’s, was named a second team All-American, and recieved the freshman of the year award in the PAC-12.
“All I can say is wow,” reflected Nam. “Coming into college I wanted to play well of course. And those were all goals of mine that I wanted to accomplish. I’m really happy with the way I played freshman year and I hope that I can play the same way the next couple of years.
USC entered the NCAA Tournament as the top seed, they played well in stroke play, but lost in the first round of match play.
It was really disappointing that we lost,” said Nam. “It fires us to play well the next year. We learned a lot of things about our match play skills at NCAA’s and I think our coach is gonna work with us on how to stay focused even when things like rain delays and thunder delays interrupt our momentum.
After the college golf season was over Nam played in the Arnold Palmer Cup, a collegiate team event where men and women play on one team together. Nam earned a spot with her record in college tournaments. Not many freshman get invited to the event. Nam proved she belonged, winnings two of her matches, halving two, and losing none.
Getting invited in the first place was really exciting to me as a freshman,” said Nam. “I played well. I’m really happy with the way I played and I feel like I represented the US well.
Team USA lost to Team Europe who made a comeback in the final day.
Fellow Hawaii golfer Allisen Corpuz, a Punahou grad and rising senior at USC is a teammate of Malia’s.
Professional dreams are common for collegiate amateur golfers. But for now Nam is focusing on the more near future.
“I think my number one goal is keep it fun,” said Nam. “It all feels kind of like a dream to be at USC and to play well and have really cool teammates beside me. It was just a really cool freshman year.”