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Anthony Kim is 18 holes away from being relevant again

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If you play golf on a fairly consistent basis, you most likely have a buddy with a game similar to Anthony Kim's. No, he probably doesn't make millions and sport a contract with Nike Golf, but he's probably the kind of guy that can roll out of bed, shoot a salty round in the 65-68 neighborhood, and look like the greatest golfer on the planet.

But the next time you play with this exact same buddy, he finds a way to shoot in the 80's and look like the biggest hack on the planet. Call it a Jekyll and Hyde complex, if you will, but it's the kind of thing that's beyond maddening to watch.

That pretty much Anthony Kim in a nutshell. He shows moments of brilliance from time to time, but for the most part, he's been unable to live up to the lofty expectations that had him pegged as one of the top up-and-coming golfers in the sport, a couple years back.

Prior to last year's thumb surgery, it looked like he was right on track. He nearly won the Masters and took home the Shell Houston Open title, before he stepped away for three months to have the procedure. But when he returned in August, he wasn't the same player.

Sure, he's had a couple of good starts here and there since the surgery, but when people talk about the best young players in the game today, he's rarely mentioned anymore. Maybe it's because Rory McIlroy and a host of young stars have taken over this year, but for a guy that was once pegged as Tiger Woods' next rival, he's fallen well short of the expectations.

But after Saturday's 8-under 62 at the Greenbrier, Kim finds himself with a one-shot lead and chance to jump back into the spotlight and be relevant again with a victory. One win won't wipe away 11 months of mediocre play, but it could go a long way to getting his career back on track, as well as giving him a huge confidence boost before the PGA Championship.

You hate to label an opportunity like this as a must-win for the 26-year-old, but Anthony Kim needs a victory in the worst way. We'll see if he's up to the task on Sunday.

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