Written by Staff @KornFerryTour
Chan Kim officially locked up his first PGA TOUR card in historic fashion Sunday at the Albertsons Boise Open presented by Chevron, as he carded a second consecutive bogey-free 7-under 64, totaled 28-under 256 and tied the fourth-lowest 72-hole score in Korn Ferry Tour history, in addition to becoming the first player since the Tour’s establishment in 1990 to win an event without making a single bogey.
Kim, who won last week’s inaugural Magnit Championship, also became the 12th player (and 13th occurrence) in Korn Ferry Tour history to win back-to-back events. The last occurrence of back-to-back wins on the Korn Ferry Tour came in 2021, when Cameron Young and Mito Pereira both recorded back-to-back victories across four consecutive weeks.
“This is what I came here to do,” said Kim, who became the seventh player declared #TOURBound, signaling he is assured of finising in the top 30 on the Korn Ferry Tour Points List and earning PGA TOUR membership for the 2024 season. “That was my goal from the beginning of the year. I took the risk of coming over here to play instead of just playing in Japan.”
Kim played the first three holes of Sunday’s final round in 3-under par, making a birdie at the par-5 second and eagle at the par-5 third. After consecutive birdies at the par-4 ninth and 10th, it appeared Kim would lap the field and win in dominant fashion.
However, David Kocher, a two-time Korn Ferry Tour winner who entered the week with a career-low round of 62, made some history of his own at Hillcrest Country Club.
Kocher eagled the par-5 16th and birdied the par-4 18th as he recorded a 12-under 59, the 10th sub-60 round in Korn Ferry Tour history. Kocher joined Mac Meissner and Michael Feagles as the third player to card a 59 this year, marking the first time in Tour history three sub-60 rounds were logged in a single season. Kocher’s 59 was also the second sub-60 round posted at the Albertsons Boise Open, one of three events played every year since the Korn Ferry Tour’s inaugural 1990 season.
Kocher’s furious rally took him to 26-under 258 for the week, marking the second-lowest score by a runner-up in Korn Ferry Tour history. Only Rhein Gibson, who totaled 23-under 257 and finished seven strokes behind Stephan Jaeger at the 2016 Ellie Mae Classic at TPC Stonebrae, posted a lower score as a runner-up on Tour.
“I knew for sure somebody was going to go low today,” Kim said. “I was watching the leaderboard the whole day. Then I heard a roar on No. 16… to shoot 59 in the final round is just unbelievable golf. He gave me a run for my money, and I just had to keep my head down and really get after it.”
Kim birdied the par-4 12th and reached 27-under par, but Kocher’s 59 only left him with a one-stroke cushion down the stretch. A two-putt birdie at the par-5 16th gave Kim an insurance stroke he didn’t actually need in the end.
Sunday’s win made Kim the third multi-time winner on the Korn Ferry Tour this season, joining Pierceson Coody and Ben Kohles. It also marked Kim’s 10th victory worldwide, with his previous eight wins coming on the Japan Golf Tour.
Kim, a native of South Korea who grew up in Hawaii, turned professional in 2010 after two seasons at Arizona State University and played Q-Schools all over the world, searching for a circuit to play full time. Kim eventually landed on the Japan Golf Tour in 2015, and he spent eight years chasing Official World Golf Ranking points and PGA TOUR membership via non-member FedExCup points at major championships (he qualified for 12 of them) and World Golf Championships.
Kim’s back-to-back wins are all the more stunning considering the fact, just three weeks ago, he simply hoped to finish top 75 on the Korn Ferry Tour Points List and maintain membership for next season. Prior to last week’s win in New Jersey, Kim stood 54th on the Points List with three missed cuts and a T66 in his last four starts.
In his mind, the only lower points in his career were a 2016 slump which sent him back to Japan Golf Tour Q-School, and a back injury after a breakout 2017 season which saw him win three times and finish T11 at The Open Championship. Kim saw eight different doctors in the United States and Korea and, although he avoided surgery, ultimately missed all of 2018.
Kim returned to form at the 2019 Japan Open Golf Championship, one of the tour’s major championships. Two years later, Kim won thrice more and finished atop the Japan Golf Tour’s 2020-21 Order of Merit, earning a five-year exemption on the circuit.
Last season, Kim capitalized on his PGA TOUR playing opportunities and qualified for the 2022 Korn Ferry Tour Finals, which also granted him an exemption for Final Stage of the 2022 Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament.
For Kim, who maintained a residence in Arizona while he played in Japan, it was time to walk another path to the PGA TOUR.
“For some reason, I felt like I was getting a little too comfortable out there,” Kim said. “When the world ranking points were great, it was great, but now that the world ranking points dropped out there and there’s 30 cards here compared to 25 last year, I just felt it was the right time to come over. And on my off weeks I can sleep in my own bed, so that’s a bonus.”
Seeing as last year’s Albertsons Boise Open was where Kim’s Korn Ferry Tour quest began, there was perhaps no more fitting venue for Kim’s #TOURBound declaration.
“It has been a long journey,” Kim said. “The end goal was always to play the PGA TOUR, and I’d love to No. 1 in the world. It’s going to be a grind, but I enjoy it, and I’m looking forward to it.”