DECATUR — When Decatur’s Tim Woods arrived at Hickory Point Golf Course on Sunday morning, he never expected to be caddying for the Decatur-Forsyth Classic champion.
In his eighth year as a volunteer caddy at the Symetra Tour’s Decatur stop, Woods had never been paired with a golfer that placed better than sixth. And when the final round started, his golfer this year — Sue Kim — would have been thrilled with that finish.
Then the magic happened. Kim knocked a stroke off the lead on the last six holes of the second round that she had to finish when she was forced off because of darkness on Saturday. At that point, Woods optimistically said to Kim, ‘If we could shoot a 64, we could have a good day here and take a run at it. Let’s do that. Let’s go make some money.’ ”
Kim must have thought she was talking to Mr. Rogers. She laughed politely, then took the course and did one better. She shot a 63 and won a playoff hole to take the title.
“I just looked at him and said, ‘Yeah, you tell me that’s easy,’ ” Kim said. “I never would have thought that would happen.”
Considering the success of South Korean golfers on the LPGA Tour, it wasn’t a big surprise that a golfer born in Seoul won the tournament.
The thing is, Kim claims Canada as her home country. Her family moved to Toronto when Kim was 10, then later settled in Langley, British Columbia because the weather was more conducive to golf.
“My sister (Jackie Kim) and I wanted to study abroad, learn English and experience other cultures,” said the 22-year-old Kim, who has been a member of the Canadian National team for five years. “We happened to pick Canada. I golfed when I was younger, but the Koreans are very competitive. I couldn’t really stand the pressure of being there in such a competitive world.
“But in Canada, it was much friendlier, so I picked it up again when we moved there. It wasn’t that, ‘I’m going to beat you all’ attitude. It’s very supportive.”
Kim began attending college at Denver University, but didn’t make it through the year before deciding to leave for a career as a pro golfer. This is Kim’s second full season on tour.
“I knew this is what I wanted to do, so I figured why not just do it right away,” Kim said.
While Kim had no idea she was near the lead during — of immediately after — her final round, Woods did. But he wasn’t about to say anything.
“(My family) picked me up after a few holes and were saying to me, ‘She’s close to the top. She’s close to the top,’ ” Woods said. “Then I looked over on nine and they’re telling me, ‘She’s leading.’ But I didn’t want to do or say anything to mess her up.”