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English teen sensation Kris Kim makes history on PGA Tour – before tackling GCSEs

Kris Kim – English teen sensation Kris Kim makes history on PGA Tour – before tackling GCSEs
Kris Kim followed his first round 68 with a 67 to move to seven under par on his PGA Tour debut - Reuters/Raymond Carlin III

Kris Kim will fly back to Surrey on Sunday night having turned his focus to the English exam  the first of his GCSEs – he will sit next Thursday. However, after his record-breaking exploits on the PGA Tour, perhaps it would be more appropriate if history was first up for the remarkable 16-year-old.

Kim shot a 70 on Saturday at the CJ Cup in Dallas to move to eight-under and it says plenty about his performance in Dallas that he was among the featured groups on the US circuit’s TV feed.

The Epsom college student will not be challenging for the title in the final round, but he has already left an indelible mark on the event held in honour of Byron Nelson. By outsourcing the likes of Jordan Spieth and qualifying for the weekend, Kim became the youngest European to make the cut in a PGA Tour tournament and the fifth youngest ever of any nationality.

America has quickly warmed to the 2021 runner-up at the Justin Rose Telegraph Junior Championship and lapped up his back story. His parents are both former pros, although it is his mother who has been his biggest influence on the fairways. Ji Hyun Suh played on the LPGA Tour in the 90s and has been his coach since he first started playing as a five-year-old.

She is there at TPC Craig Ranch with husband Yong Ki Kim – who appeared on the Fiji Tour – and they can be nothing else but proud partners. In fact, Yong Ki started wild celebrations when his son hit it to two feet on the par-three fourth, although he later confessed to momentarily believing it could have been a hole-in-one.

More than a few eyebrows were raised when the CJ Group invited Kim – the teenager ranked outside the top 400 in the amateur rankings – although the Korean conglomerate knew all about the talent they have sponsored for the last year and the reigning British Boys’ champion has more than justified the faith.

Certainly his display around the greens has made him look at home, as Kim acknowledged after a round featuring four birdies and three bogeys.

“This week I’ve realised how good my short game is and how I can rely on it sometimes, especially days like today where I sucked at hitting irons,” he said. “My goal was to make the cut and I’ve done that, but I just want to finish as high as I can. Golf is all about enjoyment to me and I’ve loved this experience.”

Kim should have at least one ambition left in Texas – to beat a 16-year-old Spieth. In 2010, Spieth made his PGA Tour debut in the same event at the same age – although a few months older  and finished in a tie for 16th. Five years later, Spieth won The Masters.

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