British 16-year-old set for PGA Tour debut weeks before sitting GCSEs

16-year-old Kris Kim is set for his first PGA Tour start at the CJ Cup Byron Nelson this week.

PGA Tour
PGA Tour

Kris Kim, a 16-year-old British amateur, has received a sponsor exemption and will play in the CJ Cup Byron Nelson this week in a field studded with PGA Tour stars, including Jason Day and Will Zalatoris

Kim, who wowed fans at the Junior Ryder Cup in Rome last year, has a big month ahead of him. Only weeks after his PGA Tour debut, he will have to sit his GCSE exams back home in Surrey. 

In his debut at the Junior Ryder Cup last September, the young English star went undefeated, contributing to Team Europe's historic triumph over Team USA at Marco Simone Country Club with three victories and one draw.

One of those victories came against 15-year-old American teenage sensation Miles Russell, who recently became the youngest-ever player to finish inside the top 25 at a Korn Ferry event when he put on a stunning display to finish T20 at the Suncoast Classic. 

Kim also won three individual titles in 2023: the Boy's Amateur Championship, the European Boy's Individual Championship, and the McGregor Trophy.

The young amateur was handed a sponsor invite by CJ Group - one of his individual sponsors - to make his debut on the premier North American circuit at TPC Craig Ranch. 

Kim is the first amateur golfer to be sponsored by CJ Group, joining a star-studded stable of professional golfers, including Sungjae Im, Si Woo Kim, KH Lee and Byeong Hun An.

Despite his tender age, Kim has pedigree in the game of golf, as his mother and coach, Ji-
Hyun Suh was one of South Korea's trailblazing golfers on the LPGA Tour in the 1990s and paved the way for the nation's continued success in both the men's and women's games. 

Despite having a lot on his plate right now, Kim is understandably excited about playing in front of big crowds again, but he is keeping his expectations in check.

The young Englishman said:

“I can’t wait to play in front of big crowds again. I’ve never hit the ball as far as I did at the Ryder Cup. The adrenalin rush makes golf so much fun. That said, having played that course and a few more tour courses, I appreciate the task ahead and look forward to the challenge.

“My first aim is to make the cut and then see what happens. At the end of the day I’m one of 144 competitors and we’ve all got a chance. Whatever happens it’s going to be super helpful for my future because I’ll gain so much experience. I know I’m still young and pretty much every week I learn a lesson, but this week is going to be a lot bigger!”

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