Joohyung ‘Tom’ Kim rolls onto the court for first PGA Tour title at 2022 Wyndham Championship
Joohyung “Tom” Kim didn’t let a quadruple bogey to start the Wyndham Championship bother him.
Instead, he became the first player in the past 40 years to overcome such an inauspicious start and win a PGA Tour event. In doing so, at 20 years, 1 month, 17 days, the South Korean became the second-youngest Tour winner since World War II – only Jordan Spieth, who won the 2013 John Deere Classic was younger – and the first player born in the 2000s to win on the Tour.
“I can’t believe I won with a quadruple bogey on the first,” Kim said. “I hope I never do that again.”
An 8-under par 27 front nine by Kim at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, North Carolina, tying the second-lowest nine-hole score in Tour history, propelled him into the lead and he won a four-stroke win over fellow countryman Sungjae Im with a 9-under 61 finish.
Kim, who is called Tom, a nickname he was given as a child after the cartoon, Thomas the train – “I had everything (Thomas the train), I had the lunch box, I had the toys, yeah,”
He became only the third player in the ShotLink era (est. 2003) to make a quadruple bogey or worse on the first hole of a round and go on to score under par.
“I was laughing,” he said after shooting 67. “It was a bad holeshot and I just thought, you know what, I can still get it, I can still shoot under par today. today and somehow I made it.”
It didn’t hurt that his putter was on fire. In the first two rounds, he punched 301 feet and 1 inches of putts, scoring the most in the first two rounds since the Wyndham Championship moved to Sedgefield in 2008. But his putter went cold in the third round. He took 30 shots with his short stick, making just 48 feet of putts in all while posting a 2-under 68.
But the final round was another story. With a 20-foot birdie on the second and a 24-foot birdie on the third, he made more putts in his first three holes of the final round than he had in his previous round. And he was just getting started. He sank a 12-foot birdie at No. 4, and an 8-foot eagle putt at No. 5 and an 18-foot birdie putt at No. 6. He made 112 feet of putts on the front nine only.
Kim has twice won the Asian Tour, including the Singapore International earlier this year, and topped the Asian Tour Order of Merit in 2021. He finished third at the Genesis Scottish Open and seventh at the Rocket Mortgage Classic last week. He earned temporary membership after the British Open last month by accumulating that many points or more through the non-member FedExCup points list this season as No. 150 in the 2020-21 FedExCup standings (287). His victory qualified him for the playoffs – he is projected No. 34 in the points standings – becoming the first special temporary member to win on the circuit since Collin Morikawa at the 2019 Barracuda Championship.
“It was a dream of mine to play here full time,” Kim said.
Rookie Max McGreevy, who started the week away looking at No. 126 in the FedEx Cup points standings, shot 65 and finished T-5 and jumped to No. 104 to secure a tee time at next week’s first playoff event in Memphis. Despite missing the cut this week, Rickie Fowler held onto No. 125, and Matt Wallace, who also missed the cut, was the odd man out.
But the day belonged to Kim. Just when there was talk of a sub-60 lap, Kim bogeyed at 10, his only fault of the lap. He added birdies at 15 and 16 to post 20 under 260 as he became the youngest champion born outside the United States since England’s Harry Cooper at the Galveston Open in 1923.
“I still have so much to learn and so much to improve,” he said at the 3M Open last month. “Just watching the guys dominating the PGA Tour and you see how well they play, it just motivates me to be at their level and try to improve every day.”