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Tom Kim rallies from opening quad to 3-under 67 at Wyndham Championship

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Tom Kim rallies from opening quad to 3-under 67 at Wyndham Championship

    Written by Kevin Prise @PGATOURKevin

    Tom Kim sticks approach to set up 11-foot birdie putt at Wyndham

    After clinching 2022-23 PGA TOUR membership with a top-10 finish at last week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic, it might’ve seemed Tom Kim’s week at the Wyndham Championship would be a victory lap of sorts.

    His opening hole Thursday at Sedgefield CC did not fit that bill. Kim made a quadruple-bogey 8.

    How did this happen on a 422-yard par 4? After finding the left rough off the tee, Kim advanced his second shot less than 50 yards. His third sailed over the green; his fourth failed to reach the green and caught a slope, funneling to the back fringe. His fifth rolled back to his feet. His sixth made it up to the fringe, 9 feet from the hole. He two-putted for 8.

    Kim, though, refused to let his day be defined by one hole. He didn’t record another score above par, and he accrued seven birdies.

    The 20-year-old South Korea native signed for a 3-under 67. He became the third player in the ShotLink era (established 2003) to make a quadruple bogey on the first hole and record an under-par score.

    Not just under par. Three strokes clear.

    “I was laughing,” said Kim of his reaction to the opening hole. “There was nothing I could do. It was just the first hole and gosh, I just got a really bad lie and then didn't really have another good lie and didn't really have another good lie, didn't really have another good lie. It turned out not bad.

    “I was only laughing because it was the first hole of the day and it was probably the worst start I've ever had in my career so far. All I could do was laugh because just some shots I hit there were pretty awful. But I don't know, for some reason I felt calm. It was one bad hole and I just told myself, you know what, I can still get this, I can still shoot under par today, and somehow I did.”

    Throughout the season, Kim’s game has displayed a maturity beyond its years. He arrived in North Carolina with seven made cuts in eight starts, highlighted by a solo third at the Genesis Scottish Open in early July. With a solo seventh at last week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic, he now holds 417 non-member FedExCup points this season, which would rank No. 97 on the Playoffs and Eligibility Points List. He has guaranteed a top-125 spot upon the conclusion of the Wyndham Championship, which in turn provides 2022-23 PGA TOUR membership.

    He would need to win the Wyndham Championship to earn a Playoffs spot, and he’s six back of early leader John Huh.

    Considering he was 4-over after a single hole at Sedgefield, that doesn’t seem out of the realm.

    “You want to start good, and a start like that wasn't the best,” said Kim, whose rally included three consecutive birdies on Nos. 13-15. “But I told myself, hey … it's just one hole, so just keep pushing. There are definitely a lot of opportunities out there.

    “I got a good birdie on 3 to just kind of get my momentum and had a really good up-and-down on the par-5 (fifth). Just kind of kept pushing. Felt like after the first hole, I kind of played really solid.”

    Kevin Prise is an associate editor for PGATOUR.COM. He is on a lifelong quest to break 80 on a course that exceeds 6,000 yards and to see the Buffalo Bills win a Super Bowl. Follow Kevin Prise on Twitter.

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