Joohyung Kim – Call me Tom

Joohyung Kim

Joohyung Kim is a name golf fans will be hearing a lot of in coming years as the promising teenager, who shot an opening 67 at the SMBC Singapore Open, makes his way in the professional game.

But the name on the scoreboards is not the one the 17-year-old Korean answers to as he has adopted the first name, Tom.

How that came about was revealed to television viewers tuning into the opening day’s play at Sentosa Golf Club.

The commentators explained that while growing up in Australia, Kim looked around for a suitable first name.

He chose Tom as he was a fan of the Thomas the Tank Engine television series.

Whatever the etymology of his name, his playing credentials are crystal clear and Kim is on track to be a dominant figure in the sport.

After earning a battlefield promotion from the Asian Development Tour by winning three events last season, the youngster made an instant impact by winning on just his third start on the Asian Tour at the Panasonic Open in India.

That made him the second youngest professional to win on the Asian Tour at 17 years and 149 days with Thailand’s Chinnarat Phadungsil holding the record as the youngest winner at 17 years, five days when he won the Double A International Open in 2005.

Playing the SMBC Singapore Open for the first time, Kim showed maturity beyond his years in carving out his opening 67 to be tied sixth, two shots adrift of leader Kosuke Hamamoto, alongside defending champion Jazz Janewattananond and Inhoi Hur.

Jazz, of course, knows a bit about name changing himself as his given name is Atiwit. The world number 38 started using his nickname Jazz (his father is a fan of jazz music) in tournaments several years ago.

Kim, who is now based in Thailand after living in Australia and the Philippines, was happy with his opening round.

“It was great,” he said “It is a hard course itself but it became even harder when the wind had picked up. The game plan went pretty well, I made a few putts and was able to score.

“I have been playing quite consistently – it’s my first season (on the Asian Tour) so I am just trying to learn every single week.

“I am trying to hit a lot of fairways and greens, I think that is very important here.”

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