Sunday, August 7th 2022, 6:25 pm
It is not how you start, but how you finish that ultimately defines a champion. Truer words could not be said about Joohyung Kim and his performance in the 2022 Wyndham Championship. The 20-year-old, affectionately known as "Tom," was able to overcome an early blunder on Thursday to capture his maiden title on the PGA Tour in convincing fashion after a final round 9-under 61.
Beginning his tournament at Sedgefield Country Club with a quadruple-bogey on the very first hole, the South Korean quickly found himself 13 strokes off the pace set by first-round leader John Huh. Panic, uneasiness and discomfort could have easily set in, yet instead, Kim clawed his way back while showcasing the mental fortitude of a golfer twice his age. Eventually signing for a 3-under 67, Kim added rounds 64 and 68 before going absolutely nuclear on Sunday.
Starting the day two strokes off the lead of Sungjae Im, Kim was locked in from the word go. Making three consecutive birdies from Nos. 2-4, Kim catapulted himself to the top of the leaderboard with an eagle on the par-5 fifth before tacking on three additional birdies on his inward half. He needed only 27 strokes on his front nine as he turned in 8 under, and in the process carded the second-lowest nine-hole score in the history of the PGA Tour.
From there, Kim was in cruise control en route to history as he became the second-youngest winner on the PGA Tour since World War II; Jordan Spieth was 19 at the time of his victory at the John Deere Classic. Kim also became the first non-member to win since Collin Morikawa at the 2019 Barracuda Championship and the first man born in the 2000s to win on the PGA Tour.
While he had secured his PGA Tour status for the 2022-23 season, his lone avenue to this season's FedEx Cup Playoffs was a victory. With it, he has ascended to 34th in the FedEx Cup standings and now has a fantastic opportunity to play himself into the Tour Championship where the top 30 players will qualify.
As if this month was not life-changing enough, Kim's upward trajectory should only continue as he has to be considered a lock for the 2022 Presidents Cup next month at Quail Hollow Club. With captain Trevor Immelman searching for players to round out his International squad, Kim will be at the top of the list if he does not qualify on his own merit.
All this in the span of weeks, and all of this at the ripe age of 20. The influx of young talent in the game of golf is often harped on and with Kim, the dialogue will be the same, but that doesn't make what he accomplished any less amazing. This is a man -- some would argue kid -- who should be in college, skirting by in his Economics class and getting turned away from bars. Instead, he is a winner on the PGA Tour with a future as bright as a star. Grade: A+
Here are the grades for the rest of the notables at the 2022 Wyndham Championship.
2. Sungjae Im (-16): He was the betting favorite after each round, but Im was simply outmatched by his fellow countryman on Sunday. The 24-year-old had his moments as he holed out for eagle on the par-5 fifth to remain in touch with the lead but had some inexplicable misses on the greens. With two wayward putts from inside 5 feet coming on his front nine, he entered the inward half needing to play perfect golf. While Im ultimately did not do this, he did crack the top 10 of the FedEx Cup standings for the regular season, which comes with a nice payday. Grade: A
T5. Max McGreevy (-13): Despite the build up and added pressure, there are typically only two or three players that end up playing themselves inside the top 125 at the Wyndham Championship. That player this week was McGreevy, as he entered the week No. 126 and more than rose to the occasion. It is actually amazing the PGA Tour rookie was even in this position, as his first regular-season campaign saw him miss the cut in 18 of 27 starts. Still, it is about what you are able to do with those weekend appearances that matters and McGreevy proved that just a few good outings can truly make your season.
"I think my goal was just to play good golf," said McGreevy. "I wasn't trying to get a certain amount of points or finish top 30 or something like that. I haven't played good golf in a long time, so I was just trying to play good golf, and I thought it could take care of itself. Felt good to put four good rounds together, for sure." Grade: A+
T13. Davis Riley (-11): He got hit by a freight train -- pun intended -- and because of that Riley was not able to capture a victory in his first regular season on the PGA Tour. Still, he is well inside the top 30 of the FedEx Cup standings and should he play himself into the Tour Championship while being granted major championship exemptions and plenty of riches along the way. It has been a terrific year for the Mississippi native as he has contended with some regularity and should only continue to improve with this experience. Grade: B
T21. Will Zalatoris (-9): Expectations were high for Zalatoris this week as he needed a good performance to crack the Comcast Business TOUR Top 10. Unable to, the former Wake Forest Demon Deacon not only missed out on a big payday but also left Greensboro without his typical bag man by his side. Splitting up with his caddie after the second round, Zalatoris went on to sign for rounds of 66-68 over the weekend. He is still in search of his first victory on the PGA Tour and maybe, just maybe, the addition of a different voice in his ear will be what allows him to finally enter the winner's circle.
"I did some good things and did some really bad things," said Zalatoris. "The good's there, just need to clean up the bad. I've been playing some nice golf this year, obviously, and these next three weeks are obviously what I've been getting ready for. So have to take some pride out of these last three rounds and keep it going into next week on a golf course that I love." Grade: B-
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