Detroit – In the fourth and final round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic on Sunday, Joohyung “Tom” Kim made history.
Kim recorded an under-63 during his run on the 18-hole Detroit Golf Club, tying Cam Young (2022), Davis Thompson (2021) and Nate Lashley (2019) for the course record.
He had a chance to break the record with a 15-foot-6 putt on the 18th hole, but just missed it and had to settle for sharing the feat.
“No, (I wasn’t nervous on that putt) I felt really calm,” Kim said. “It was a great read and I don’t know how it missed to be honest. It was a perfect putt, I hit it really well. I didn’t expect it to break so much. It was just inside the hole and I’ve just come a long way from me, but it was still a great putt.”
Kim started his day recording five birdies in the front nine, setting the stage for his record run, but the potential for him to tie or break really started to show after he struck for an eagle on the 10th hole.
He said he didn’t even know the ball went in the hole at first. He took his swing, felt good, saw the ball land, and turned to put his club away. The crowd breaking out is what made it happen.
“It was just one of those shots where you didn’t expect it, but it was a great shot,” he said.
Kim, who plays on a special temporary membership on the PGA Tour, will likely earn her tour card for next season, fulfilling a lifelong dream. He finished the Rocket in seventh place.
“It means everything,” Kim said of the chance to earn her spot. “Every day I played golf I thought about playing on the PGA Tour, it was nothing else. Today might get a little emotional tonight, but it’s definitely a dream, it’s been a road and I hope next season I’ll be here full time.”
Brehm on Northern Golfers
The connections between Ryan Brehm and the state of Michigan is deep.
He was born in Mount Pleasant and played college golf at Michigan State, then came back and joined the staff as an assistant coach.
As such, Brehm wants to see his alma mater, and the northern golf scene in general, prosper. James Piotwho turned pro earlier this year and has since started playing on the LIV Tour, is a former Spartan, but Brehm doesn’t think his arrival is a guarantee for more to come.
“Well, I think it’s still an uphill battle, I’m not going to lie,” Brehm said of the potential for good golfers to come out of MSU and other Big Ten schools. “It took me a long time to get PGA Tour status.
“I think there are definitely players in the Big Ten who are of a very high caliber. I don’t know if there are as many as there are when you get to warmer weather, but definitely, I think the facility – I went to the Michigan State facility earlier this year – and I was blown away by it. It’s just amazing.
Brehm said that although Michigan gets cold during the winter months, the opportunity for student-athletes to train in warmer areas is available.
“I really think the opportunities are there,” he said. “And let’s be honest, the college game, like all college sports, there’s really no limit to where they can go to practice.
“There are, but for what we do I don’t think there are any limits in terms of getting hot weather when you need it or playing against elite competition. So I think those two things are essential, but I think they’re very possible. Certainly in a Big Ten institution.
Brehm ended his performance in the Rocket Mortgage Classic with a 2-under 70 in the fourth round on Sunday. He finished tied for 57th place.
Zalatoris posts the highest score
Upon entering the Rocket Mortgage Classic, Will Zalatoris hoped the event would be his first PGA Tour win.
That didn’t happen, as Zalatorits finished tied for 20th, but he shot a 7-under 65 in the final round after going 70-71-69 through the first three days.
“You know, unfortunately, not much (it was different today),” Zalatoris said, referring to what made Sunday’s performance his best. “I just didn’t get much out of the rounds the first two days.
“I drove it amazing. (Coach) Troy Denton and I spent a lot of time working on the pilot after the Open Championship. I really didn’t drive it well in Scotland. It was nice to see everything click today.”
If nothing else, perhaps his strong performance on the final day of the tournament could serve as a springboard, especially with the Wyndham tournament and the FedExCup fast approaching.
“I’m 25, so if you hear me say I’m tired, I probably need to get my head checked,” Zalatoris said. “Next week (in North Carolina) is kind of a home game in some ways, being that I went to Wake Forest and obviously that’s kind of the part of the season that you you prepare, playing five in a row to finish the season. Like I said, I’m young, I can handle it.”