Kim takes the outright lead with opening 63
GLENVIEW, Ill. – Michael Kim opened with an 8-under 63 for a one-stroke lead over a trio of players at 7-under par after the first round at the NV5 Invitational presented by Old National Bank. There are 14 players within two strokes of each other atop the leaderboard following Thursday’s opening round at The Glen Club.
Kim’s day started on the back nine with birdies on each of the first five holes (Nos. 10-14).
“Starting on No. 10, it's a pretty simple hole,” Kim said. “It was a 3-wood and a little chip lob wedge. I made a nice little 10-footer. No. 11 was probably the most unexpected one. I made probably a 40-footer. Got the ball rolling and kept hitting some really good drives and really good iron shots and making some putts.”
Kim followed the birdie streak with pars on the 15th and 16th, followed by two more birdies at Nos. 17-18 as he made the turn with a 7-under 28. Kim’s second nine began with his only bogey of the day at the par-5 first, but he recovered with birdie on the par-4 second and added one more at the par-4 eighth.
“Everything was really working well for me,” Kim said. “I got off to an awesome start, five birdies in a row. I hadn't done that in a while. I just kept hitting the right shots, kept hitting fairways and greens and just rolled a bunch of putts in.”
Kim, who played primarily on the PGA TOUR the last six seasons, is making his 14th start on the Korn Ferry Tour this season and the 55th of his career. In 13 events this year, Kim has three top-25s, including two in a row entering this week (T12 at last week’s AdventHealth Championship, T16 the week prior at the Visit Knoxville Open).
“I've been telling my caddie and my team, my coach, that I've been trending,” Kim said. “I got a new swing coach, Sean Foley, at the end of last year. It's been great what we've been working on and it's clearly working.”
The outright 18-hole lead marks the second time Kim sits atop the leaderboard in a Korn Ferry Tour event, and the first since having the solo 36-hole lead in the 2014 Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper, where he finished T2. On the PGA TOUR, Kim recently shared an 18-hole lead at the 2022 Puerto Rico Open in March following a 7-under 65. Closing rounds of 69-70-74 saw him eventually finish T16.
Kim, who turned professional in 2013, spent two seasons on the Korn Ferry Tour (2014 and 2015), making 41 starts over the two-year span. A native of South Korea but representative of the United States, Kim earned his first PGA TOUR card following the 2015 season which featured five top-10s, including a pair of T3s, and No. 13 finish on the regular season money list.
Since his the start of his rookie season on TOUR (2015-16), Kim has made 159 starts with 15 top-25s and two top-10s, including his only career victory at the 2018 John Deere Classic. In that event, Kim turned in rounds of 63-64-64-66 to finish at 27-under 257, the 10th score of 257 or better in TOUR history at the time. His eight-stroke margin of victory was the largest in the history of the event and tied Dustin Johnson and Francesco Molinari for the largest winning margin by any player during the 2017-18 season.
Kim played collegiately at the University of California-Berkely, where he won the 2013 Jack Nicklaus Award and Fred Haskins Award, both awarded to the top collegiate player of the year, as a sophomore. In that same season, Kim also an All-America First Team selection and the Pac-12 Conference Player of the Year. The season ended with Kim representing the United States in the 2013 Walker Cup.
Second-round tee times will be from 6:45 a.m. through 2:11 p.m. local time off the first and 10th tees.