Kim Joo-hyung ties for 2nd at Open Championship, best performance by S. Korean

July 24, 2023

Kim Joo-hyung tied for second place at the Open Championship in England on Sunday, posting the best performance by a South Korean golfer at the historic major tournament despite playing with a sprained ankle.

Kim finished at seven-under 277, six behind the champion, Brian Harman of the United States, in a four-way tie for second place. Kim carded a four-under 67 on the final day at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England, his best round of the tournament.

Kim opened the competition with a 74 on Thursday and then nearly withdrew from the tournament Friday after slipping and spraining his right ankle at his rental home the previous night.

Kim stuck to it and shot three straight rounds in the 60s to close out the final major of the season.

The runner-up finish is the best showing by a South Korean player at the Open Championship, surpassing the eighth-place finish by Choi Kyung-ju from 2007.

Kim started his final round with back-to-back bogeys but bounced back with a birdie on the fourth and an eagle on the fifth.

He added birdies on the ninth, 11th and 15th for the tidy round. Kim’s 67 tied two others for the best round Sunday.

Yang Yong-eun, the 2009 PGA Championship winner, remains the only South Korean with a men’s major title.

Kim said his ankle felt better Sunday, and the adrenaline kick of playing in a major championship also helped. He said he was glad he didn’t pull out after all.

“It was kind of nice to almost forget about it a little bit, because when you’re in the moment, you don’t really think about it,” Kim said. “I think today was probably the best it’s been out of the three days, so kind of relieved.”

Kim, who already has two PGA Tour wins at age 21, said his final round, on top of his eighth-place showing at the U.S. Open last month, was “very, very satisfying.”

“Seeing golf courses that I haven’t been to, hitting a huge learning curve, it’s been kind of frustrating a little bit,” said Kim, now playing in his first full PGA Tour season after breaking out last year.

“This is just a learning curve. This is my first full year out. These guys have been out here for five to 10-plus years. I really have to kind of put it into perspective and keep working hard to keep playing better. I put a lot of work in this year trying to get back to that feeling of kind of contending in big events, and it’s kind of nice to see the fruits coming to life,” he said.