Kim Sets Pace as Pros Take Stage
If you enjoy seeing some really good golfers playing for prize money, it’s a good time to be in the Sandhills.
Sunny Kim put his talent on display at Southern Pines Golf Club Tuesday and Wednesday, shooting 67-63—130 to win the Carolinas Pro Golf Tour event held there. And he’s returning this week to compete in the eGolf Tour’s Donald Ross Championship being held at Pine Needles Resort and Southern Pines Golf Club.
The biggest difference is the amount of prize money he’s playing for. He won $3,500 in the event held last week and he’ll be competing for a first-place prize of $35,000 this week.
Kim, a 22-year-old from Charlotte, proved a quick study on the Southern Pines layout.
“I was playing the course for the first time on Tuesday,” he said, “and didn’t have a practice round because I was playing in a U.S. Open local qualifier in Columbia, S.C. on Monday.”
Trailing Matt Short of Hudson by two strokes entering Wednesday’s final round, Kim rode a hot putter to eight birdies while not making a bogey on the challenging Donald Ross-designed layout.
“It was mostly just a matter of being more familiar with the course,” Kim said. “I didn’t really make any long putts, but I made everything inside 10 feet, which is huge.
“The strange thing is that my iron play is usually the strength of my game and this week I drove and putted the ball well.”
Matt Ryan, of Valencia, Calif., shot 66-65—131 to finish second by a stroke when he missed the 18th green right and made a closing bogey. He earned $1,750.
Kim is hoping to ride his success here to a good finish in the eGolf event, which is being held Wednesday through Saturday. Golfers will rotate between Southern Pines and Pine Needles the first two days with the final two rounds after the 36-hole cut being contested at Pine Needles.
“I’ll be back on Monday to get in some practice at Pine Needles because that’s also a course that I haven’t played,” Kim said. “I’m planning on going to PGA Tour Qualifying School this fall and I’m hoping the success I’ve had here will help me.”
Anthony Baker, of High Point, shot 67-65—132 to take third, while Mitch Adams, of Asheboro, and Chris McCartin, of Raleigh, tied for fourth with 134.
Adams, a conditional member of the PGA Champions Tour and a former head professional at Gates Four Golf & Country Club in Fayetteville, is planning to attend the Champions Tour qualifying event this fall.
“I’ve been trying to qualify on Mondays for some tournaments, but from here on in I’m going to play some on this tour and the eGolf Tour and the Sunbelt Tour and concentrate on getting my game in shape for qualifying school,” he said. “The only Monday qualifying I’m going to compete in is for the tournaments in Cary and the Hickory Classic at Rock Barn.”
Andy Bare, of West End, shot 68-70—138 and tied for 10th.
Bobby Nesbitt, co-owner of the Carolinas Pro Golf Tour along with founder Kent Fuller, is hopeful that the Sandhills will become a regular stop for the circuit.
“This is our seventh year,” Nesbitt said, “and we’ve grown from eight to 10 players in 18-hole events to 30-40 players in 36-hole tournaments. We’re holding 23 events and four of them now are 54 holes.”
The tournament offered a total purse of $13,200 and a third of the field earned money. For information on the tour or how to become a member, visit the website at carolinasprogolftour.com.
The eGolf Donald Ross Championship is offering an estimated purse of $250,000 with a first-place check of $35,000, based on a full field of 216 players.
This is the tour’s third visit to Pine Needles, the Donald Ross course that has hosted three U.S. Women’s Open Championships. The first two events were won by current PGA Tour player Tom Gillis and Nationwide Tour player Matt Davidson.
Southern Pines Golf Club returns to the rotation after having co-hosted the tour’s event at Little River Golf Resort last year.
Among players competing in the eGolf event will be Pinehurst resident and Nationwide Tour player Darron Stiles, who finished tied for second in the Panama CLRO Championship earlier this year and tied for eighth in the Bogota Open.
Former PGA Tour players in the field include Stiles, Matthew Borchert, Craig Lile, David Lutterus, James Oh, Derek Fathauer, Andrew McLardy and Cameron Yancey.
Local players Bare, Ryan Linton and Eddie Peckels, of Pinehurst, and Chip Lynn, of Fayetteville, are also entered.
McCartin, who won the Samanah Classic held in Marrakech, Morocco earlier this year, is also competing.
The public is invited to attend at no cost.
Contact Howard Ward at email@example.com.
More like this story