Joohyung Kim continues opening quad rebound, in position to claim FEC playoff spot
Joohyung Kim had flashbacks of Thursday’s gaffe on No. 1, but it wouldn’t be deja vu Friday at the Wyndham Championship — at least on that hole.
The 20-year-old South Korean, who recorded a quadruple-bogey 8 in Round 1 on the par-4 first but laughed it off en route to a 3-under 67, thought he may repeat yesterday’s blunder after a 2 under opening nine (he started Round 2 on No. 10).
“I went in the bunker again and I was like, ‘Well, here we go, just don’t make a quad,'” Kim said after Round 2. “I was like, ‘Let’s just get this on the fairway,’ and I did. I had a good number, I hit a great shot to 2 feet and I was like, ‘You know what, this is strokes gained right here, four shots better than yesterday, so most improved on hole No. 1.'”
Kim finished Round 1 six shots off the lead, but thanks to carding seven birdies for the second day in a row, he shot a 7-under 64 Friday to move 22 spots up the leaderboard and grab a share of the early 36-hole lead.
The world No. 35 earned enough non-member FedExCup points last week in Detroit to clinch permanent membership for the 2022-23 PGA Tour season. However, Kim would need to win the Wyndham Championship to claim a spot in next week’s FedEx St. Jude Championship, the first leg of the FedExCup playoffs.
Kim would sit 97th in the playoffs standings, but similar to Will Zalatoris’ situation last year, Kim played this year on special temporary Tour membership, not full status. Therefore, Kim is ineligible for the playoffs unless he holds his lead at the Tour’s regular-season finale.
And Kim’s nothing to lose mentality may be benefiting him this week.
“I think last week was a little bit more intense,” Kim said. “I felt like a lot of shots were a little bit more of, I wouldn’t say stress, but a little bit of knowing that I needed to play well last week to kind of give me some breathing space this week. And once I had done that, I told myself, ‘You know what, I’m going to come out here, I’m just going to enjoy it,’ just try to be as happy as I can and that’s what I’m doing. So hopefully, two more days to go.”
Kim could have let yesterday’s opening hole derail his week, but he didn’t. And now, through two rounds, he’s in a position to squeak his way into his first-ever FedExCup playoffs.
“If you would have told me after the first hole yesterday where I’d be after two days, I definitely would have taken it,” he said, “so pretty happy.”