Marvin Ridge senior golfer has one more goal: Win a state title
Tuesday, Mar. 11, 2014

Marvin Ridge senior golfer has one more goal: Win a state title

    Marvin Ridge senior golfer Dong-Jun Kim helped his team to a second place regional finish and a third place finish at states last season.
    Marvin Ridge senior golfer Dong-Jun Kim is signed to play at N.C. State next year. Kim finished 17th in last year’s state tournament.
  • Five golfers to watch

    •  Dong-Jun Kim, Marvin Ridge, Sr. – N.C. State University signee is the top golfer on a talented Mavericks team. Helped his team to a third place finish last season.

    •  Michael Sardinia, Cuthbertson, Soph. – Finished 11th in the state 2A tournament last year as a freshman, helping team to a ninth place finish with classmate Cooper Daniel.

    •  Jackson Bailey, Porter Ridge, Sr. – Three-time all-conference selection was medalist at the 2013 SCC tournament. Has an offer from Lenoir-Rhyne.

    •  Sean O’Conner, Porter Ridge, Soph. – Led the Pirates as a freshman at last year’s 4A Midwest Regionals, shooting a 74 in just his second 18-hole high school match.

    •  Joshua Chang, Sun Valley, Soph. – Named captain as a sophomore after finishing his freshman year with a 40 nine-hole stroke average.

Senior year is treating Marvin Ridge’s Dong-Jun Kim well so far.

He signed to play golf for N.C. State University next fall, and he will play in this spring’s N.C. High School Invitational in Durham.

There’s just one more goal left to check off Kim’s high school bucket list: Win a state championship with his Maverick teammates.

“I want to end my high school career well,” Kim said at a team practice last week at Firethorne Country Club in Marvin. “I haven’t played as well as I could have in the state championships before, but it’ll be all business this year. I’ll play to my potential.”

His potential, according to first-year head coach Aaron Hammers, is limitless. Kim, who finished 17th in last year’s state tournament, is the first one to show up at practice and the last to leave, said Hammers.

“He’ll always spend extra time working on every aspect of his game,” Hammers said. “It’s not just about putting or just about chipping – it’s everything put together.”

Kim’s strength is that he essentially has no weakness, Hammers said. By putting a “solid” effort into each facet of his game, the senior poses the best chance Marvin Ridge has of winning the state championship for the first time in the school’s history.

The Mavericks placed third last year behind back-to-back 3A champion Gastonia Forestview. Hammers expects his team to place higher than that this time around.

“The kids will decide the future, and we’ll do whatever we can to reach our goal,” he said. “With DK, he’s our team captain and our leader. What he does, the others follow that.”

Juniors Tyler Brown and Colton Naslund are two more threats to Forestview’s reign atop the 3A with their experience playing in junior tournaments during the offseason. Freshmen Ty Kozlowski and Zach Swanson are also vying for valuable playing time. Both were slated to play in Marvin Ridge’s first match March 10.

“Everyone on this team can play at that high level,” Brown said. “Our two freshmen are the two best out of all the middle schools around here, and they have a lot of talent. It’s unusual for a high school team to have so many people who can post a good round.”

With all ten of Marvin Ridge’s boys in contention for the six open spots each match, Hammers said his team would show a competitive fire not only to make the squad, but to impress throughout the year –leading up to the state championship at Foxfire Resort and Golf Club in May.

Over the summer, Forestview lost last year’s individual champion Will Long (now at Auburn, Ala.) and Furman-bound (S.C.) Alex Taylor to graduation. Fielding what Kim calls “the best team I’ve seen in my time in high school,” the Mavericks hold their best chance yet of championship glory.

“We have full trust in coach and in the team,” Kim said. “We’re ready for this season, and hopefully we can get it together this year.”

David Thackham is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for David? Email him at

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