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Tom Kim aims at 2nd consecutive PGA Tour win in Japan

Posted October. 12, 2022 07:45,   

Updated October. 12, 2022 07:45


Tom Kim (Korean name Kim Joo-hyung), the 20-year-old South Korean golfer (pictured), is aiming at winning his second consecutive championship title from the PGA Tour ZOZO Championship, which will kick off on Thursday at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Chiba, Japan. The ZOZO Championship has the reputation as a tournament where Tiger Woods tied the record of most PGA Tour wins (82 wins) in 2019.


Tom Kim is finding himself at the center of the limelight after winning the PGA Tour Shriners Children’s Open as the second youngest player in PGA Tour history (20 years, three months, and 19 days) and the third player to achieve a bogey-free win. The PGA Tour announced a power ranking for the favorites of the ZOZO Championship on its homepage, where Kim was put in second, which is even higher than Hideki Matsuyama, a Japanese golfer who won the championship last year. “He is pretty good,” the PGA commented on its power rankings. “The success despite his youth is inspiring, especially given his humility for the situation,”

The PGA Tour expressed much interest in the young champ from South Korea, posting footage of Kim’s arriving at the airport in Japan on its Twitter account. The Action Network, a sports betting site, put Kim at +1600 (return by 16 times), predicting him to be one of the strongest favorites.


Both PGA Tour and Action Network betted most heavily on Lim Sung-jae, a 24-year-old South Korean golfer, as the winner of the ZOZO Championship. Lim was ranked first on the PGA Tour power rankings, and his odds are also the lowest at +900 on the Action Network’s prediction. “He has been one of the hottest performers on the planet since late July, but he now has one a year since his last victory,” the PGA Tour said on its power rankings. Lim has jointly won second place in three of the last five competitions in the 2021-2022 season. Lim is steadily clawing back to the throne, finishing seventh in the Shriners Children’s Open. Lim was ranked third in the ZOZO in 2019. Kim and Lim will be rounding together along with Cameron David of Australia in rounds 1 and 2.

Other Korean golfers, including Kim Si-woo (27) and Lee Gyung-hoon (31), will compete in the championship. If one of the four contenders wins the championship, it will be the first who grabbed the second consecutive win in PGA Tour history. While nine Korean golfers have won 23 wins on PGA Tour, there have been no consecutive wins. With no cut line, the ZOZO Championship will host 78 players. The world’s top five rankers are not participating, but Xander Schauffele (ranked sixth) and Collin Morikawa (ranked ninth) are competing in the ZOZO.

Hong-Gu Kang windup@donga.com