Golf: Kim roars to Wachovia lead
By Mike Cranston
CHARLOTTE ó Quail Hollow Club’s tree-lined, old-style setup has produced an impressive list of winners, ranging from Vijay Singh to Jim Furyk to last year’s champion, Tiger Woods.
With Woods unable to defend his Wachovia Championship title following knee surgery, Anthony Kim moved a step away from joining that elite group ó a month shy of his 23rd birthday.
The steady, focused, and less flamboyant Kim shot a 6-under 66 on Saturday to take a four-shot lead over Jason Bohn and Heath Slocum after the third round.
While Kim still sports the signature shiny belt buckle with his initials, the big hitter’s recent focus on his game left him at 13 under and as close as ever to his first PGA Tour win.
But the best way to describe how Kim has changed was not the long drives and six birdies Saturday, it was a short punch out on the third hole, when he decided not to try a low-percentage shot to reach the green.
“Six months ago I would tried to go for it, and there was double or triple bogey written all over that,” Kim said. “I chipped out, saved par, and that kept my round going. Little things like that have added to some good play.”
Kim passed Bohn, the second-round leader and his playing partner, by sinking a 9-foot birdie putt on the ninth hole. Kim added another birdie at No. 14, then navigated through the course’s tough closing stretch with his best golf of the round.
After getting up and down for par on the 17th, Kim ripped a 324-yard drive on No. 18 and hit his second shot to 7 feet. He made the birdie putt and calmly walked off the course as the only golfer without a bogey on his scorecard and well ahead of one of the strongest non-major fields on the tour.
“I feel like I’m ready,” Kim said of trying to become the eighth golfer in his 20s to win this year, “but you never know.”
Bohn recovered from a poor day of putting with a chip-in for par on the 18th for a 72 and a second-place tie with Slocum. But Bohn was in awe of what he saw from Kim.
“It was awesome to chip in on the last hole, but I didn’t play as well as I wanted to today,” Bohn said. “I played with somebody who played extraordinarily good, almost Tiger-esque. He hit a lot of great shots. So it was fun.”