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Tour player makes a hole-in-one while grieving sudden death of his friend

March 29, 2024

Chan Kim waves to the gallery after making a hole-in-one in the second round of the Texas Children's Houston Open.

Logan Riely

Chan Kim has to believe that the hole-in-one he made on Friday in the second round of the Texas Children’s Open wasn’t happenstance, but a sign from a good friend.

On Thursday, Chan, 34, learned that a buddy of his from high school in Chandler, Ariz., died.

“We were on the same golf team,” Kim said after his round. “Both him and his brother I’ve known for a while. We actually just played some golf when I was home before Mexico. And we normally game a lot, so I’m a big “Call of Duty” fan, so we literally played the week of the Players [Championship].

“Yeah, it was just kind of sudden, didn’t really get any notice of it until last night. Yeah, like I said, today was kind of a special round. Regardless of how it went, it was nice to play for something a little bit more than just myself.”

With that on his mind, Kim hit a wedge on the 157-yard ninth hole at Memorial Park Golf Course, and the ball took one hop and went into the cup for Kim’s first ace on the PGA Tour.

“I just would have thought that maybe he was looking down, you know, just trying to give me a miracle,” Kim said. “Yeah, definitely needed all of it. I’m happy of the result today, for sure.”

A tour rookie after playing on various smaller circuits (he’s notched two wins on the Korn Ferry Tour and eight on the Japan Tour), Kim’s hole-in-one led to a front nine of 31, and he ended up shooting three-under 67 to be in a good position at two under heading into the weekend.

Kim said he figured the golf gods owed him an ace after his great shot earlier this year in the Sony Open flew into the cup, popped out to 60 feet, and he ended up three-putting for bogey. “I felt like I was owed one, for sure,” Kim said.