Golf Nippon Series JT Cup 2022

In-form Kim shares pole position

In-form Kim shares pole position

American Chan Kim looks simply unstoppable at the moment.

The 32-year-old picked up where he left off last week to claim a share of the lead after the first round of the season-ending Golf Nippon Series JT Cup on Thursday.

A brilliant five-under-par 65, courtesy of a scorecard containing an eagle, five birdies and a double bogey, was good enough for him to finish atop the leaderboard alongside Yuki Inamori and Aguri Iwasaki.

Kim has now finished first for five successive rounds after completing a wire-to-wire victory at last week's Casio World Open with a record-breaking 72-hole score of 32-under-par.

Prior to the win, Kim had also impressed with four top-six finishes in his last five outings on Tour.

"I guess I found my swing, my putting has been getting better too. A switch to a new putter worked really well last week, hopefully, it continues this week as well," said Kim, who's getting married on December 10.

Everything seems to be coming so smoothly for Kim that he could still get off to a flying start without a practice round.

"Actually, I'm not feeling so well at the beginning of the week, I didn't play any practice round and today was actually my first round of golf since Sunday

"I didn't set any expectations this week. This kind of helped me to relax and play well today."

Kim will be hoping his strong performances continue throughout the tournament in his bid to win the season finale for the second time in three editions.

Australia's Brad Kennedy, the runner-up in 2019, also enjoyed a fine start after mixing six birdies with two bogeys to post a strong 66.

That placed him in a four-way tie for fourth together with defending champion Hideo Tanihara, Satoshi Kodaira and Daijiro Izumida.

However, Kennedy is keeping his fingers crossed about his participation for the remainder of the tournament after revealing that he was competing with a knee injury.

"I'm not sure if I'm going to finish," lamented Kennedy, who was puzzled about the cause of injury.

"It's really hard to walk. It doesn't hurt my golf swing but trying to walk off the tee boxes and downhill is really hard.

The other two international members in the fray - Australia's Anthony Quayle and American Todd Baek - shot 71 and 76 respectively to finish tied 21st and outright 29th respectively.

Quayle, 28, left it late to birdie the final two holes of the day as he bounced back strongly from a difficult start.

He managed to card an eagle on the sixth, but he also dropped as many as five bogeys through the opening 14 holes.


Baek expressed his disappointment at an untimely shoulder injury that prevented him from giving his best this week.

"It's very prestigious (tournament) and I'm happy to be out here. Unfortunately, I hurt my shoulder last week on Sunday," said Baek after trading two birdied against six bogeys and a double bogey.

"I don't know if I can continue. I will try to get treatment first.

"I will try my best to play all the way to the weekend but as of now, it's not looking good."

Leading first round scores:

(Japan unless stated)

65 - Yuki Inamori, Chan Kim (US), Aguri Iwasaki;

66 - Hideto Tanihara, Satoshi Kodaira, Daijiro Izumida, Brad Kennedy (Aus);

67 - Rikuya Hoshino, Taiga Nagano, Ryuichi Oiwa, Yuto Katsuragawa.