Korea’s Si Woo Kim will be riding on feel-good vibes when he launches his title quest at the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina this week.
Kim, who is a four-time PGA TOUR winner, emerged as one of the star performers at Quail Hollow last September when the prestigious club hosted the Presidents Cup, with the 27-year-old producing three points for the International Team in the defeat to the United States.
“It was really fun and a good experience for me. We were pretty much playing against top-10 players in the world. There were a lot of Korean boys in our team and I love to play with them and we had fun,” said Kim on Wednesday.
Kim’s International teammates, Sungjae Im, K.H. Lee and Tom Kim, are all in the elite field in this week’s US$20 million showpiece, along with countrymen Byeong Hun An and S.H. Kim. American Max Homa will defend his Wells Fargo Championship title against the likes of three-time winner Rory McIlroy and last week’s Mexico Open at Vidanta champion, Tony Finau. A total of 34 players from the world’s top-50 are gathered at Quail Hollow, representing the tournament’s strongest field since 2007.
At the Presidents Cup, Si Woo Kim savoured several big moments, including a 1-up win alongside Tom Kim against Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele in Saturday’s Four-Ball session which sparked wild celebrations on the 18th green. In the top Singles match in the final day, he took down Justin Thomas 1-up as well, and showed a different side of his character where he “shushed” the boisterous American crowds by putting his index finger on his lips.
Kim recalled with fondness the experience at Quail Hollow where he was the team’s highest points earner. “We kind of knew it was going to be a hard 18 holes (against Cantlay/Schauffele) and we wanted to just enjoy it. Had a tough front nine and on the back nine, we were more aggressive and it worked. In the last few holes, we were shaky but I hit a few good putts coming in and then Tom hit a great putt in the end (to win the match) and we really enjoyed it,” said Kim.
A first top-10 since his Sony Open in Hawaii victory in January alongside Tom Kim at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans two weeks ago has Si Woo in confident mood once again. He is seeking to improve his record at the Wells Fargo Championship where he finished T37 when the tournament was played at TPC Potomac last year due to the Presidents Cup and missed the cut at Quail Hollow in 2016.
“Finally, after these past couple of months, we had a top-10 and it has been a while. It was good being back into the top-10 and hopefully it’ll keep getting better. It was (playing with) Tom and it is always fun to play with him. We had a fun week (in New Orleans),” said Kim of his finish in the TOUR’s only two-man team competition.
With the PGA TOUR 2022-23 season heading towards a climatic finish with the FedExCup Playoffs slated in August, Kim is determined to play his way into the TOUR Championship, which is limited to the top-30 players from the FedExCup points list. He is presently ranked 17th with 14 weeks remaining to the start of the Playoffs.
“My goal was to win this year, and hopefully get into the top-30 for TOUR Championship. That would mean being exempted into all the majors next year,” said Kim, who has featured in the TOUR Championship only once in his career during his rookie year in 2016.