Kim Chan will make his official debut at the upcoming championship, which will take place at the Waialei CC (par 70) near Honolulu on Oahu Island, Hawaii, for four days from Wednesday (Korea time). Korean players including Ahn Byung-hoon, Lee Kyung-hoon and Kim Sung-hyun will also participate in the Sony Open, which is drawing keen attention as Kim Si-woo’s defending champion.
Kim Chan said, “Hawaii is like a real hometown. Born in Suwon, Kim Chan moved to Hawaii with his parents at the age of two. He grew up in Hawaii until high school, and later went to Arizona State University, a prestigious golf club. Therefore, his debut match is not unfamiliar because he has a lot of experience in the sea breeze as well as the characteristics of Hawaii’s grass.
The U.S. golf channel introduced Kim Chan from Hawaii just in time for the opening of the Sony Open. Kim Chan, who started golf at Alawai Elementary School, said, “I gained golf skills by using passes at Alawai Golf Club, where I woke up at 4:30 a.m. in middle school and went around nine holes for 20 dollars.”
He also highlighted his rivalry with Ted Fujikawa when he was in high school. His short stature at just 160 centimeters made him a sensation when he entered the Sony Open on Monday at the age of 16 and tied for 20th after passing the cut. “Ted and I have grown by competing,” Kim told Golf Channel.
Kim Chan is 188 centimeters tall and weighs more than 90 kilograms. He is a slugger who can fly 350 to 60 yards whenever he decides to hit, but he also has good short game skills. Kim ranked first in the JGTO long drive category with an average driver shot distance of 320.34 yards in 2019, and won the prize money of the Japan tour in 2021.
“I wanted to make my PGA Tour debut when I was 23 years old. But it didn’t go my way. I’m 10 years late, but I’ve achieved my lifetime goal,” Kim said ahead of his debut. “I’m 33 now, but I feel like I’m 43 years old. Maybe I’m a 43-year-old rookie. Still, I’m so happy to have this opportunity.”
Kim Chan won two games in the second-tier Conterie Tour last year, ranking second in the prize money list, and was promoted to the PGA Tour this season. Kim Chan, who dreamed of playing on the PGA Tour since he was young, has played on the Canadian Tour, the European Challenge Tour, and the Asian Tour since 2010, and has won eight games in the Japan Golf Tour (JGTO) since 2015. Kim Chan has come back a long way to play on the PGA Tour, which he dreamed of, but he is drawing attention as a player who will overcome the championship in the rookie season with various experiences by playing many games.