Chan Kim takes the lead with Nasreen Thaqibin in the final stage of the Korn Ferry Tour Qualifier Tournament

SAVANA, GA – 32-year-old Chan Kim, a seven-time winner of the Japanese golf tour, took a 7-under-64 on Saturday at Landings Golf & Athletic Club’s Magnolia Course to take the 36-hole lead. In the final stage of the Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament. Kim moved to level 10 under a draw in the tournament and by one stroke against Argentine Alan Wagner, who advanced by one stroke after the first round 8 under 63 on Friday at Marshwood Stadium.

Aside from the fact that he jumped to the top of the leaderboard, Kim #64 was notable for two reasons.

For example, Magnolia Stadium played nearly 1.5 strokes par in the first round on Friday, and shy of 2.5 strokes over par in the second round on Saturday. Second, only five players in the final stage of the 2021 Korn Ferry Tour Qualification have earned a round of 64 or better at Magnolia.

Kim earned a good number of hits on the court with two vultures in his first four holes on Saturday. The first was with a 56-square wedge in a 10 par-4, his first hole of the day, while the other was with an 8-iron in a par-4 13. Kim also piloted a par-4 in 12th and 15th, which means he played his first six Holes at 6-lower.

“It definitely got off to a lucky start,” Kim said. “At No. 10 I actually thought it was going to take a long time and just heard it was hitting the pin. We were kind of struggling with the big bounce and I think it got clean, because there were no pitch marks anywhere. That was very exciting. Next, (No. 13 green) kind of bowl. I saw him track up the hill and then all of a sudden I heard a scream. I don’t know how to explain it. I didn’t know what was going on. I just had to reset the situation and keep my head in the game.”

After a bogey in the 14th degree, Kim bounced with three consecutive birds at No. 1-3 and another in the 4th degree 5th. Stealth left consecutive seventh and third tier Kim with his 7-under-64.

“It will definitely be one of the most memorable tours,” Kim said.

Kim played one season (2008-2009) at Arizona State University and had one of the best freshman campaigns in the program’s history. Originally from Suwon, South Korea, Kim turned professional in 2010 and went on to live in the United States, playing in Gilbert, Arizona.

In the early years of his career, Kim tried his hand at PGA TOUR Q-School and several other schools around the world, including a stint that spanned in 2012 when he played seven different stages of the Q-School in the United States, Europe and Asia. While Kim played in Canada in 2011, the Challenge Tour in 2013, and across Asia in 2014, he started playing primarily on the Japanese golf tour in 2015.

Kim won the 2020-21 Japan Tour Medal of Merit, played three Grand Slams in 2022, and made the cut-off in four PGA TOUR events this past season, most notably T15 at the 2021 ZOZO and T16 Championships in Puerto. Rico is open. With these finishes, Kim earned enough non-member FedExCup points for the 2022 Korn Ferry Tour Finals berth, which in turn gave him an exemption for the final stage this week.

In fact, Kim traveled from Japan to the United States earlier this week, arriving Monday evening. He will also return to Japan next Tuesday, where he intends to finish his season on the Tour of Japan golf.

“I’m just trying to keep up with my comfort. I still have air travel disruption so I’m going to try to get some sleep and hopefully recover the next day,” Kim said. “Everything I do there now is just a bonus. After this week, I hope to be able to play here, which is the main goal.

“I knew it was time,” Kim said of his decision to focus on golf in the United States. “I’ve had five years on the Tour of Japan (golf) in terms of exemptions, but it would be good to have a player close to home. I would like to go home in my weeks off and sleep in my bed.”

Kim also knows a thing or two about playing under pressure, having played with Tiger Woods in the third round of the 2020 ZOZO Championship.

“Obviously, that was amazing, and it was one of the best moments of my life,” Kim said. “When I hit one of the drivers with low punches, he came up and said to me, ‘Did you just hit a driver? I love that shot. To tell him… I was shivering the whole time. He’s someone I grew up watching.”

The only other player to score a 7-under or better on Saturday was Maestro Vince India in the Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament, who shot 7-under 64 at Marshwood Stadium. Including this week, India have qualified for eight of the nine final stages since the PGA TOUR Q-School became the Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament in 2013.

Play times for Round Three will be 8 a.m. to 10:12 a.m. local time from the first and tenth rounds of the Marshwood and Magnolia tournaments. The upper half of the field will play the Magnolia tournament on Sunday in order to play Marshwood Stadium, this week’s host tournament, in the final round on Monday.