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Kris Kim, 16, makes PGA Tour debut, follows LPGA mom’s footsteps

Kris Kim, 16, makes PGA Tour debut, follows LPGA mom’s footsteps

High-level golf runs in the family for 16-year-old Kris Kim, who will make his PGA Tour debut this week at the 2024 CJ Cup Byron Nelson at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, Texas. Kim’s mother, Ji-Hyun Suh, played on the LPGA in 1998 and 1999, at the same time superstar Se Ri Pak burst onto the global stage.

Kim, who hails from Surrey, England, brings quite the resume to Texas. His 2023 triumphs include the R&A Boys’ Amateur Championship, European Boys Individual Championship and the McGregor Trophy.

He also went undefeated at the Junior Ryder Cup, defeating another up-and-coming star, Miles Russell, 5 and 4, in singles. The 15-year-old Russell, of course, tied for 20th recently on the Korn Ferry Tour.

“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,” Kim said in a release. “The adrenaline 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.”

Kim, who is playing in McKinney on a sponsor exemption, became the first amateur sponsored by CJ Group last May. Managed by Trinifold Sports, Kim also became the first European amateur to sign an NIL deal with Under Armour and the first British amateur to sign with TaylorMade.

Suh, who briefly returned to competition in Europe in 2014 after a 12-year break, told tour officials that she took up golf at age 13 in Seoul after her father forced her to quit tennis.

“My father would take me at five in the morning and I would hit balls all day and my hands would hurt,” she said. “I didn’t like it very much, but my father did. So I continued practicing from the age of 13 and I became very good. Then, I joined the Korean National team, turned professional in 1998 and afterwards I decided to try and play in America.”

Suh recorded two T-15 finishes in 1998 on the LPGA at the Friendly’s Classic and Giant Eagle LPGA Classic.

Her stint in America fell short, she said, because her English wasn’t very good and it was difficult to travel on her own. With no sponsors in the U.S., she ultimately left for the Japan LPGA, where she played for one year until she met her husband and stopped altogether.

That was in 2002. The couple moved to Surrey and Suh took up a teaching career at a local golf course.

While Suh’s path into the game was laid out by her father, Cuddington Golf Club director Paul Schunter told BBC Sport that Kim’s passionate…


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