Rising South Korean star Kim Joo-hyung was all smiles again on Friday after shooting a six-under par 64 to share the early second round lead in the US PGA Tour Wyndham Championship.
Kim, who had fought back with a quadruple bogey-eight after opening Thursday to shoot a 67, had a total of nine under par of 131 to share the lead with Americans Brandon Wu and Ryan Moore when a thunderstorm hit the game. stopped at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, North Carolina.
“If you’d told me yesterday after the first hole where I would be after two days, I would have taken him for sure, so pretty happy,” said Kim, admitting he had a slight flashback on the first hole — his 10th of the day — where he was back in the bunker.
“I was like, well, here we go, just don’t make a quad,” he said. “I was like, let’s just get this on the fairway.
“And I did. I hit a great shot to two feet,” Kim said, adding to himself, “You know what, these are shots taken here — four shots better than yesterday.
“So most improved on hole #1.”
The 20-year-old’s star is rising fast. He was a two-time winner of the Asian Tour and finished third at the Scottish Open in July, an event co-sanctioned by the DP World Tour and the US PGA Tour.
Given a special temporary membership to the US tour last month for the remainder of the season, he secured his card for next year with seventh place in Detroit last week.
“Last month before the Scottish, I think I was just Korn Ferry Finals for me,” he said. “A month later, I secured my PGA Tour card without even going to Korn Ferry Finals.”
On Friday, Kim had another early wobble with a bogey on 12th, but had seven birdies the rest of the way, starting with a 14-footer at 13.
He drank a 19-foot birdie on second and made three in a row on six, seven and eight — the trio’s highlight being a 30-footer on seventh.
A disappointing birdie miss from within five feet on his last hole was just a blip.
“It would have been great,” Kim said. “But I still hit a great putt — I just didn’t go in.”
Wu, 25, is also looking for a first US PGA Tour title. He had four birdies and a bogey in his three-under par 67.
Moore, a five-time winner, had five birdies and a bogey in his 66.
First round leader John Huh was in a one-shot back group after carding a one-over par 71 – 10 shots worse than his 61 from Thursday.
“I think that’s golf,” said Huh, who was tied at 132 with compatriot Russell Henley (65).
Indian Anirban Lahiri and American Brian Stuard were in the clubhouse at seven-under when play was interrupted. South Korean Im Sung-jae was seven-under with two left to play.