FAR HILLS, N.J. – Michael Kim, a member of the victorious 2013 USA Walker Cup Team and the low amateur at this year’s U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club, announced he will turn professional and forego his final 1½ years of college eligibility at the University of California-Berkeley.
Kim, currently No. 3 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, will make his professional debut at the PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open, to be held Jan. 23-26 at Torrey Pines Golf Course near his Del Mar, Calif., home. Kim, a graduate of Torrey Pines High, received a sponsor’s exemption to play in the event.
After earning conditional Web.com Tour status for the 2014 season at the recently completed Q-School Finals at PGA West in La Quinta, Calif., Kim decided the timing was right to enter the professional ranks.
This past season at Cal, Kim became the first Golden Bear to garner national player of the year honors when he won both the Jack Nicklaus and Haskins awards. In June, he helped the USA to a victory at the Palmer Cup at Wilmington (Del.) Country Club; one week later, was the low amateur at the U.S. Open.
In July, he was the runner-up to Walker Cup teammate Jordan Niebrugge at the U.S. Amateur Public Links at Laurel Hill Golf Club in Lorton, Va., dropping a 1-down decision in the 36-hole final.
By playing 72 holes at the U.S. Open, Kim was exempt into the second stage of Web.com Tour Q-School, where he easily advanced to the finals, which concluded on Dec. 17. Kim was in contention to earn exempt Web.com Tour status (top 45 and ties) before struggling in the final two rounds to finish tied for 56th.
"I didn't have that much to gain from college at this point," Kim told Golfweek. "Kind of bummed I never got to win an NCAA Championship. But I feel like I am ready to take the next step."
Kim, who posted a 3-0-0 record in the USA’s 17-9 Walker Cup win at the National Golf Links of America in September, will join former Cal and 2013 Walker Cup teammate Max Homa on the Web.com Tour. Homa tied for sixth at Q-School.
“Michael has left a fabulous legacy at Cal and will always be a great Golden Bear,” Cal coach Steve Desimone said in a release from the school. “We wish him all the best in his professional career.”
David Shefter is a senior staff writer with the USGA. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.