Morri: Remember the name… Joo-hyung Kim
But as Cam Smith and Rory McIlroy and other big names battled it out for the lower-ranked Claret Jug, a superstar from the future put the finishing touches to an impressive Open debut.
This word – impressive – comes up again and again when studying the relatively short but extraordinarily successful career of Korean Joo-hyung Kim.
Just 20 but already a four-year pro, the reigning Asian Tour Order of Merit winner posted scores of 69-71-72-71 for a total of five under and a share of 47th.
This followed a 23rd-place finish at the US Open at Brookline and a third-place finish at the Scottish Open the week before the Circus arrived in St. Andrews.
Working on the Asian tour – especially the disrupted schedule of the past two years – means Kim is an unknown entity outside of the region, but it feels like that won’t be the case for long.
Korean Joo-hyung Kim is impressing on the big stage at a young age. PHOTO: Getty Images.
Since missing out on the PGA Cup in May, Kim has fallen from 73rd in the Official World Golf Ranking to 39th at the start of the week and playing all four rounds at the Old Course will not have hurt that. position.
That’s a lot of numbers (he also led the ‘fairway shots’ category at St Andrews), but there’s more to golf than statistics and Kim seems to possess the elusive ‘it’ that separates good from great at this level.
Yes, he’s a “flusher” (as Golf Australia magazine editor Brendan James said after tracking him for a few holes in practice), but that’s not uncommon at this level.
More impressive (and perhaps more important) are both his attitude and his ability to find the finish line.
Kim had a stellar (if brief) amateur career before joining the professional ranks of the Asian Development Tour where three wins as a rookie earned him promotion to the main Asian Tour in 2019.
Just 17 at the time, Kim won his third start as a member at the Panasonic Open in India (the second youngest to win on that Tour at the time) before Covid interrupted what s augured like a meteoric start for his career.
Although no golf was played on the Asian Tour from March 2020 to November 2021, however, Kim picked up where he left off and in January this year won a second Tour title in Singapore and sealed the Order of Merit.
Of course, none of these accomplishments guarantee future success, but Kim seems on track to establish herself on the international stage sooner rather than later.
His recent forays into major championship golf will prove invaluable to a young player still learning his trade, the opportunity to play with world-class golfers in the most important events, the best way to measure his own game against the best.
History is littered with “must-see” young golfers and it would be unfair to label Kim that.
But so far it’s proven a quick study of what it takes to rise to the top of the game.
Joo-hyung Kim is a name you might want to remember, although in truth you might not need to, because if he continues on his current path, you won’t have a choice.
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