A week after being thrilled to play alongside Open champion Shane Lowry at the Hong Kong Open early in 2020, South Korean teenager Kim earned himself a place at Royal St George’s with a fourth-place finish at the SMBC Singapore Open.
As part of The Open Qualifying Series four spots were available, but he took the first of them as top three Matt Kuchar, Justin Rose and Jazz Janewattananond were already exempt.
It lifted him to a career-high 130th in the world following a season – his first full one as a professional - in which he won three times on the Asian Development Tour to achieve instant promotion to their main circuit. Then, in on only his third start there in November 2019, he became the second-youngest holder of an Asian Tour title by capturing the Panasonic Open India by one with a closing 65.
Based in the Philippines for six years before his family moved to Thailand, he is fluent in their Tagalog language as well as Korean and English.
“The Open is the oldest major and has so much history,” said Kim. “For that to be my first major is a feeling I can’t describe.”