COLUMBUS, Ohio — South Korea’s Whee Kim shot a 6-under 65 on Thursday to take the first-round lead in the Web.com Tour Finals’ Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship .
Kim had seven birdies and a bogey on Ohio State’s Scarlet Course in the third of four events that will determine 25 PGA Tour cards. Kim is 35th on the series money list with $9,975 in two events after finishing 127th in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup standings.
“I missed a lot of putts to start, but I hit really good iron shots,” the 24-year-old Kim said. “I made a lot of good opportunities to make a lot of birdies today. … I think the greens are softer than I expected. The last few years it was real firm and then fast. The speed is fast here, but they’re a little softer, so it’s playing much easier, especially when you hit a short iron in or a wedge.”
Kevin Tway and Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano shot 66, with Fernandez-Castano carding the best round in the afternoon session. Fernandez-Castano is eighth on the money list with $41,500, likely enough for the seven-time European Tour winner to secure a PGA Tour card. Tway is tied for 52nd with $5,975.
“I got off to kind of a rough start, 2 over through two, but after that, I made like eight birdies in the next 14 or 15 holes, which is nice out here,” Tway said. “I started getting the ball in the fairway a little bit more, which makes it a little bit easier to attack the hole.”
The series features the top 75 players — Tway was 27th, and Fernandez-Castano 64th — from the Web.com regular-season money list, Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup standings and non-members with enough PGA Tour money to have placed in the top 200 in the FedEx Cup had they been eligible.
The top 25 on the Web.com regular-season money list earned PGA Tour cards. They are competing against each other for tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals.
The other players are fighting for 25 cards based on series earnings. Last year, Rob Oppenheim got the last PGA Tour card with $32,206. Bobby Gates was 25th in 2013 at $33,650, and Eric Axley took the last card in 2014 at $36,312.
Two-time heart transplant recipient Erik Compton topped the group at 67. He was 173rd in the FedEx Cup standings and is 63rd on the series money list with $4,000.