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From the Links to the Library

As she prepares to wrap up her career at Northern Arizona University, Stephanie Kim leaves as the greatest golf player in school history. The two-time Big Sky Player of the Year broke the school record for scoring average three years in a row.

When Kim was chosen as the Big Sky Player of the Year and Big Sky Freshman of the Year her first year, it made her the first golfer in conference history – and the first female player, period – to win both honors in a single season.  She won the 2010 Big Sky championship by four strokes, and was also named the NAU Female Athlete of the Year; the next summer, she competed in the U.S. Women's Amateur match in Rhode Island, lasting until the Round of 32.

Focusing on the fun

Through it all, Kim says her primary goal was never about winning - the key to her success was focusing on the fun.

"I just try to play one shot at a time at every tournament—just having fun is the most important part of playing," Kim says. "I really enjoy being outside, and especially like seeing my teammates play in the group in front of me or behind me. Whether we win or lose, we have a lot of fun. "

According to Kim, her teammates were a key part of the reason that she chose to come to Northern Arizona University. Born in Korea, she and her family moved to the United States when she was nine. After a brief stint in California, her family moved to Phoenix. It was there that she met many of her future teammates, and began to consider the benefits that Northern Arizona University might provide her.

"When I first came to visit (the university), it felt really good," Kim says. "The (other golfers) were all really good players, and they were all so nice and friendly. I also pretty much knew everyone on the team because they're all from Arizona, and I had played with many of them in junior golf."

When Kim first joined the team, she was the youngest member. Now, four years later, she is a staggeringly accomplished golfer and the leader of the team. As she once looked up to the seniors on the team, now the freshmen on the team look up to her.

Kim strives to be a role model in more ways than one - in addition to being a record-shattering student-athlete, Kim is also an academic juggernaut, including a three-time selection to the National Golf Coaches Association All-American Scholar Team, and a three-time Big Sky All-Academic selection. She has also received the Golden Eagle Scholar-Athlete Award.

A double-major in advertising and photography, Kim says she has loved the experience of attending Northern Arizona University.

"I had a class in advertising, really liked it, and decided I wanted to major in it," she says. "I couldn't decide what I wanted to minor in, so I talked with several of my professors, and decided to pursue a double major, which I also really enjoy. It was a great process—I love my professors, and had really good experiences working with them."

Much as she did at the start of her freshman year, Kim dreams of someday playing on the LPGA tour. As always, she vows to not worry too much about winning or losing. This philosophy, she says, is one of the greatest lessons that golf has taught her.

"(My goal is to) have fun and enjoy it out there," she says. "Sometimes people get frustrated with the game—I used to, but learned to be more relaxed on the course and enjoy every moment."