S. Koreans struggle at U.S. Open as 2 golfers secure Olympic tickets

June 17, 2024

South Korean golfers have finished well out of contention at the U.S. Open in North Carolina, with two of them grabbing spots in the Olympic tournament starting in August.

Of six South Koreans in action at the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 in Pinehurst, North Carolina, only three made the cut. Tom Kim was the top performer for the trio, as he finished tied for 26th at six-over 286.

Kim started the final round in ninth place but fell out of the top 10 after shooting a six-over 76 with three birdies, seven bogeys and one double bogey Sunday (local time).

Kim Si-woo ended in a tie for 32nd at seven-over 287, while Kim Seong-hyeon tied for 56th at 12-over 292.

Kim Seong-hyeon had the best opening round among South Koreans with a 69 on Thursday but followed that with rounds of 72 and 83. He bounced back with a 68 on Sunday, tied with four others for the second-best score of the final round.

Im Sung-jae, Kang Sung-hoon and An Byeong-hun all missed the cut.

The U.S. Open was also the last opportunity for golfers to secure places in the men’s tournament at the upcoming Paris Olympics. The 60-man field for the Olympics will be set based on the world rankings after Sunday’s final round.

A country can send up to four golfers if they are all ranked in the top 15, and a maximum of two players if they are positioned outside the top 15.

After the top 15, the remaining spots will go to the highest-ranked players from countries that don’t already have at least two golfers qualified. Each nation can have a maximum of two players in this scenario.

For South Korea, Tom Kim and An will fly the flag in Paris.

Kim, whose given South Korean name is Joo-hyung, entered the U.S. Open as the highest-ranked South Korean at No. 22, followed by An at No. 23. Im was next at No. 30.

After the U.S. Open, Kim dropped to 26th and An fell to 27th, while remaining as the top two South Korean players. Im is now No. 34.

Kim, who turns 22 on Friday, is set to make his Olympic debut on Aug. 1. An competed at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and finished tied for 11th then.

An is the son of two Olympic table tennis medalists: Ahn Jae-hyung of South Korea and Jiao Zhimin of China.