Golf is a funny game. 20-year-old Tom Kim has been nothing short of sensational since last summer.
The South Korean, who goes by ‘Tom’ after ‘Thomas the tank engine’, is one of golf’s rising stars. He has an incredible personality, has won over countless fans already, and has risen to the occasion in the biggest of moments.
The endearing young man made an astonishing climb up the Official World Rankings in 2022, from 132nd at the beginning of the year, all the way up to 15th in the world come year’s end.
He won his first-ever PGA Tour event at the Wyndham Championship in early August, debuted and starred for the International Team at the Presidents Cup in September, and added win number two at the Shriners Children’s Open the month after.
Kim’s ascension to the upper echelons of the golfing world very much happened in the blink of an eye.
Tom Kim kicked off the New Year last week at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, a prestigious limited-field event that he booked his place in courtesy of his win at the Wyndham.
The 20-year-old looked sharp in his 2023 debut amongst the game’s elite as he rode four rounds in the 60s en route to a T5 finish. It was his sixth top-15 finish since his breakthrough win last August.
So it came of little surprise to see Kim’s name as the clear-cut favorite in the betting markets for this week’s Sony Open in Hawaii, the first full-field event of 2023. What did come as a surprise was the talented young player’s opening round at Waialae Country Club on Thursday.
The two-time PGA Tour winner surprisingly struggled throughout the majority of Thursday’s round en route to an opening round 72. It was his first round in the 70s since the second round of the Hero World Challenge in early December.
Kim recorded three birdies and three bogeys over the course of his 18 holes, but the real blow came on the Par 4, 13th; when Tom three-putted for a double. He managed to grab a shot back on the last but finds himself eight shots behind leaders Jordan Spieth, Taylor Montgomery, and Chris Kirk heading into round two.
Incredible run coming to an end for Tom Kim?
The consistency that Tom Kim has displayed since last summer has truly been extraordinary as the 20-year-old has produced high-caliber finishes more often than not.
Now, one of the game’s brightest young stars will now need to come up with something special on Friday at the Sony Open in Hawaii if he is to keep a remarkable streak alive. Dating back to last year’s PGA Championship at Southern Hills in May, Tom Kim is on a remarkable run of nine consecutive cuts made.
Coming into the week as the oddsmaker’s favorite and on the type of run that the extremely talented Tom Kim has been on; missing the cut this week would have seemed almost unfathomable.
But golf is a funny game like that.
Tom will likely need a round of 68 or better on Friday in order to stick around for the weekend and keep his incredible run going.