It’s every golfer’s worst nightmare: making a big number on the first hole.
“I was laughing,” Kim said after his round. “There was like nothing I could do. It was just the first hole and gosh, I just got a really bad lie and then didn’t really have another good lie and didn’t really have another good lie, didn’t really have another good lie.”
He drove into a bunker on Segefield Country Club’s first hole, couldn’t advance it 50 yards from there, hit over the green with his third before eventually walking to the second tee after making a quadruple-bogey 8.
Around 24 hours later, after he completed his second round, Kim was tied for the lead at 9-under.
“I didn’t really take it — it’s just one bad hole,” Kim said Friday. “Told myself, you know what, I’ve got plenty of holes to bring it back if I just play well on my next 35 holes, and that’s exactly what I did. I played better than I thought I was going to, so it’s a bonus.”
Kim followed the quad with seven birdies on Thursday, en route to a 3-under 67. He’s just the third player since 2003 to make a quad or worse on the first hole and go on to break par for the round, according to the PGA Tour.
His second round Friday had seven more birdies for a 6-under 64. But there was a trouble moment on the first hole (his tenth of the day) again.
“I went in the bunker again and I was like, well, here we go, just don’t make a quad,” Kim said. “I was like, let’s just get this on the fairway, and I did.”
After hitting it in the same bunker again, this time Kim was able to escape to the fairway, and stuff his third shot to 2 feet to save his par.
“I had a good number, I hit a great shot to two 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,” he said.
Should Kim go onto win, he would be the first player since hole by hole stats have been kept on tour to win after opening the tournament with a quad, per stats guru Justin Ray. Only once, Phil Mickelson at the 2009 Tour Championship, has a a player who made a quad in the first round at all, gone on to win.