DETROIT, MICHIGAN – JUNE 26: Tom Kim of South Korea stands next to his bag and caddie on the 17th hole during a practice round prior to the Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club on June 26, 2024 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Raj Mehta/Getty Images)

Korea’s Tom Kim hopes to cap an exhilarating nine-week tournament run on a winning note when he tees up at the Rocket Mortgage Classic at the Detroit Golf Club this week. The 22-year-old Asian star finished second at last week’s Travelers Championship after losing in a playoff to World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, in addition to a tied fourth finish at the RBC Canadian Open earlier this month.Kim, a three-time PGA TOUR winner, will take on the likes of defending champion Rickie Fowler, rising Indian-American star Akshay Bhatia, Cameron Young, who became the 13th player to shoot a sub-60 score at the Travelers Championship, and highly rated 15-year-old amateur prospect, Miles Russell, who made an historic debut on the Korn Ferry Tour in April when he became the youngest player to make the cut. “Obviously it was a really good week last week,” said Kim. “We did everything we could to try and get the win. Me and Scottie both beat the field by two, which I think is really hard to do at this level, at the depth of field. And with one of my closest friends to be able to kind of play for a trophy, it’s never happened for me before, so to share that experience with him was really cool. It’s unfortunate for me to lose,” said Kim. Two years ago, Kim finished solo seventh in the US$9.2 million Detroit tournament for his first top-10 on U.S. soil, which proved to be his launchpad to stardom. He went on to win his first PGA TOUR tournament at the Wyndham Championship, produced a standout performance in his Presidents Cup debut for the International Team and then won the Shriners Children’s Open at the end of 2022 and 2023. He began his 2024 campaign with a lot of made cuts but it was only in Canada that he registered his first top-10 of the season before last week’s high finish where he led the Signature tournament for the first three days before being piped at the post by his close friend. “It’s just kind of where my game has been, it’s nice to see the results just kind of come into play,” said Kim, the World No. 16. “I think everything’s just kind of coming together. I felt like it (his game) was in a really good state the whole year, but just haven’t seen really good results. I think that’s kind of why I’m on this stretch was to kind of just kind of get my game a lot sharper because when you can do it at home and you can’t do it out here, there’s actually no point. I’m very fortunate that it has shown and how my game has trended the right way,” he added. He also credited his partnership with veteran caddie, Paul Tesori for steadying the ship whenever he sails into rough waters. “It’s definitely become a lot more than just a caddie-player relationship. Obviously he and I have the same faith, which is really, really cool. So perspective-wise, if I’m having a tough day on the golf course, the perspectives that he can give is very different from what I’ve had. “Instead of just saying, hey, just a tough day on the golf course, he can definitely like just show a lot of the biblical stuff and it really helps me personally when it gets tough. Just to kind of see last week and the good finishes, because we’ve been working really, really hard to kind of just play well and to kind of see that and share the same perspectives when good things happen, it’s really special.” As he seeks a career fourth TOUR victory, he acknowledged that he picks up valuable lessons when he endures close misses as with last week’s playoff loss. “I felt like I’ve learned a lot more from my failures, or not failures but like tough weeks and like runner-up finishes because I feel like there’s just so much more to gain. 

“Only one guy wins the trophy and everyone else goes home. Victories are so much fun, that’s why you play golf, to lift up some trophies. I had 24 birdies and two bogeys and the two bogeys came from two three-putts. Man, if I could save one of those shots, I win the golf tournament by one. I feel there’s so much more to gain when you have weeks like that. It’s a positive week, but you always look at it as OK, how can I do better. You feed off so much and I think that’s how you keep adding up good weeks and adding up your successes and leads to winning big golf tournaments.”

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