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2022 Presidents Cup: Tom Kim emerges as breakout star after vaulting international team into contention

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The international team won sessions at Quail Hollow Golf Club on Saturday, and in the process, Tom Kim secured the week’s victory. Despite going 8-2 in eight games on matchday three at the 2022 Presidents’ Cup, Kim beat the Americans and pulled his team back into what appeared to be a completely lost competition. In the process, the 20-year-old star introduced herself to the rest of the world.

In a four-way morning match, Kim and K.H. Lee defeated world Nos. 1 and 12, Scotty Sheffler and Sam Burns. Although the Americans were leading on the turn, Kim made a nasty head on the 11th hole of par-4, from which he went as far as anyone in any team tournament in the history of team competition has left a putt. After that, the Li-Kim duo never fell behind and won 2 and 1.

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The afternoon was even better—as if that were even possible. Kim teamed up with Si Woo Kim and they took on the seemingly unbeatable pairing of Patrick Cantley and Xander Schauffele in four-ball. Kim again scored an 11th par-4 in a monstrous blow, but it looked like Cantley and Schauffele could hold them up and earn at least half a point.

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After Si Wu scored the 16th to level the score, the teams were left in a stalemate going to last. Kim hit 2 irons of his life at 10 feet. He watched the strike for a long time, no doubt wondering if he had any celebrations left in his holster after a day full of them. He hit a birdie putt that won a full point against Kantley and Schauffele but never saw it hit the target.

Kim shouted one last time, “Let’s go!” to the international side that gnawed at the bit to dump it on the lawn. It was the perfect exclamation point for one of the greatest days for an international player in Presidents Cup history.

As the week went on, it became clear how desperate Kim was to seize the moment. You could almost see him formulating a celebration in his mind as he walked through and around the lawns of Quayle Hollow, and he was in disarray at having to fight the titanic pair of Cantley and Schauffele.

“[I] 100% [wanted that moment], Kim said after the matches. – I was already thinking in the depths of my soul: “What should I do, how will I celebrate?” … It was an amazing feeling because the team was behind and watching. I wanted this more than anything.”

Rick Gehman and Greg DuCharme take stock of Saturday’s performance at the 2022 Presidents’ Cup. Follow and listen to The First Cut at Apple Podcasts as well as Spotify.

The 20-year-old became the first golfer born in the 2000s to win a PGA Tour event when he won the Wyndham Championship just over a month ago, but his legend has been growing long before then. His real name is not Tom Kim, but rather Juhyun Kim, although he started calling himself Tom because he had a Thomas the Tank Engine lunch box as a child.

He is an easy player to root for. Self-proclaimed fast food specialist, his teammates voted him the player who eats the most in the team room this week at Quail Hollow, and then he proved it by splitting two pairs of pants earlier in the week. He celebrates as if this is the first time and the last time he gets the chance. He, in a sometimes joyless pursuit, is an absolute revelation. Nothing is more satisfying than watching a golfer enjoy (and excel) his first team experience like Tom Kim did.

Whether or not he will ever become a global superstar as others have predicted remains to be seen, but one thing is certain after Saturday’s show: if the Cup is near the end of the day on Sunday, when Kim plays Max Homa in the 10th singles match, no other International would want to be there. Kim proved it on Saturday. And you know what? I’m not sure there is anyone else we’d rather look at.



Source: www.cbssports.com

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