AK Uncorks a 64
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour

At this time last year, Anthony Kim looked like he was shaping up to have an excellent year. And then he had to take a few months off to get thumb surgery. Since returning, he hasn’t managed to put up consistent performances. Perhaps Friday’s round at the Shell Houston Open is a sign of more positive things to come. (We’ll see.) The defending champion of this event, Kim, got hot, rolling in eight birdies on his way to a bogey-free 64 to surge into contention.

“I’m really pleased with my round today, obviously because of the score, but the fact that my coach and I have been working so hard on my game and it’s not — it just hasn’t clicked out there and I just haven’t trusted it,” said Kim in his post-round presser. “Today, even though it was a couple of swings where I didn’t trust it, but I got away with it, I got up and down and managed to make a par, but it feels great to have that feeling of confidence and go out there even make some good golf swings and make a couple putts after that.”

Kim was encouraged early in the round when he hit a few fairways.

“I’ve been playing out of trees and bushes, and that’s pretty tough,” said AK.

He’s been able to dial in one part of his game — whether it’s hitting fairways or irons — but then another element will go missing.

“It’s been a tough stretch, but I’m glad to have this one under my belt and now I can draw back on this and know that when I do get it going, I can shoot under par,” he said.

AK only needed 22 putts. When informed of the stat, he had to repeat it to be sure.

“I just heard I had 22 putts,” said AK. “That’s pretty amazing. I felt like I had 52 yesterday. To have 22 today and have some of this hard work pay off really feels good. I’m excited about what’s to come and excited for this week.”

President George H.W. Bush followed AK, Phil Mickelson and Lee Westwood for their final four holes. And no, AK, not known to be bashful, didn’t get nervous. In fact, just the opposite.

“He handed me the trophy last year,” said AK. “He actually made me a little more comfortable.”

However, AK drew the line at asking the President if he was returning on Sunday to hand him the trophy again.

AK still has two rounds ahead of him, but some momentum in Houston wouldn’t hurt going into next week’s Masters, where he finished third last year. Currently, he trails leader Chris Kirk by just a shot.

Well, one thing’s for sure, it’s nice to see AK uncork something other than Dom!

(AP Photo/Dave Einsel)