Anthony Kim posts best round yet in return to pro golf, still finishes dead last

Anthony Kim posts best round yet in return to pro golf, still finishes dead last

Anthony Kim has finished his final round of his first tournament in more than a decade. (Matthew Harris/LIV Golf via AP)

It's choose-your-narrative time for Anthony Kim, the former PGA Tour star who has just wrapped up his first professional tournament since 2012.

On one hand, Kim finished dead last at LIV Golf's tournament in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, 16 over par and a full 32 strokes behind winner Joaquin Niemann.

On the other, Kim turned in the best round of his return on Sunday, a +4 finish that was three strokes better than both his Friday and Saturday rounds. He played his final 14 holes in even par, a sure sign of progress.

Kim just barely missed a short par putt on the 18th that would have replicated his Saturday feat: terrible start, clean card the rest of the way home. On Sunday, Kim bogeyed his first four holes, then settled down and stayed level for the remainder of the round.

"Obviously it was a rough week," Kim said after the round. "I'm excited to be playing professional golf again, and I feel pretty blessed I have this opportunity."

Kim joined LIV as a wild card, meaning he'll play for the rest of the season as an individual, with the possibility of joining a team somewhere down the line. He'll tee it up next at LIV's Hong Kong event next weekend, and will play in the United States for the first time since 2012 at LIV's Miami event in early April.

"I'm definitely hitting the ball well," Kim said, "doing lot of things well. I know scores don't reflect that."

Kim's initial performance wasn't pretty, but that was to be expected given that he hadn't played a competitive round in more than 11 years. A PGA Tour star in the late aughts, Kim won three Tour events, thrilled legions of fans, and still holds the record for the most birdies in a single round at the Masters. But injuries dogged him and eventually shut him down in 2012. He vanished from the game completely, only occasionally showing up in briefly-viral driving range videos.

The script for Kim's return to professional golf was a curious one: He teed off in the middle of the night for American viewers, didn't do any significant pre-tournament interviews, and played in front of sparse LIV crowds in Jeddah. But he still cashed a paycheck thanks to LIV's no-cut format, and he has the chance to get his game in somewhat stronger shape before he has to return to face United States audiences and media in early April. By then, golf will have a better idea of how much of the old Anthony Kim remains.


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