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August 2017
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‘PGA’ Articles

Whee Kim takes first round lead at Nationwide Children’s Championship

OSU Golf Course clubhouse (


COLUMBUS, Ohio – South Korea’s Whee Kim narrowly missed out on retaining his PGA TOUR card last month, and wound up turning to the season-ending Tour Finals in order to make a return trip to golf’s biggest stage for the 2016-17 season. An opening 65 on Thursday at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship put Kim atop the leaderboard at Ohio State University Golf Club’s Scarlet Course, and in good position with 54 holes to go in the year’s penultimate event.

Kim opened his week in the day’s morning wave with a birdie on the par-4 third and a bogey on the par-3 fifth to sit at even par early in the day.

From there, the 24-year-old birdied Nos. 7 and 8 to turn in 2-under 34 before venturing to the club’s closing nine for a flurry of red numbers.

Whee Kim PGA (courtesy PGA Tour)

“I missed a lot of putts to start, but I hit really good iron shots,” said Kim after his round. “I made a lot of good opportunities to make a lot of birdies today.”

Birdies on 10, 12 and 13 vaulted Kim to 5-under-par for his round as the somewhat soft conditions on Thursday allowed for a plethora of low numbers on a course not known for yielding them.

At the short par-4 16th, he added yet another birdie to move to 6-under on the day, where he eventually finished after closing pars on 17 and 18 left him with a first-round 65 and the event’s day one lead.

“I think the greens are softer than I expected. The last few years it was real firm and then fast,” Kim said. “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.”

Kim spent 2013 and 2014 on the Tour, posting a combined five top-10 finishes and a 16th-place finish in the 2014 Tour Finals to secure his PGA TOUR card for the 2014-15 season. During that run to the TOUR, he posted a T3 finish at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, where weekend rounds of 67-69 left him one shot shy of a playoff between Justin Thomas and Richard Sterne, which Thomas went on to win.

Once on the PGA TOUR, Kim posted two top-10 finishes – including a season-best T3 at the Barbasol Championship – to finish No. 123 on the PGA TOUR money list, which enabled him to keep his card for the 2015-16 season via the TOUR’s top-125 money list exemption.

This past season, however, he missed seven cuts in his first 11 starts before notching a T3 at the John Deere Classic in August to finish the year at No. 127 in the FedExCup.

Part of the slow start was attributed to a stint in the Korean military from December 1-31, which left him with some catching up to do at the start of 2016 while trying to compete against PGA TOUR players who spent the brief offseason practicing nonstop.

“I think it was tough for me because these guys are so good and if I miss a few shots it’s going to be no chance,” said Kim, who avoided the standard 22-month military commitment via his gold medal at the 2010 Asian Games. “So, a lot of practice and then almost the end of the season I played pretty good, and then I think I (finally) played my game. So, for now it’s pretty good.”

The experience, however, was a good one for Kim, who is one of a handful of recent Korean golf stars who had to serve in the military at an inopportune time.

“It was a good experience, that kind of military service,” he said. “It was a different kind of experience from what I’ve done for a long time. It was fun.”

Two players are tied for second at 5-under-par, including Kevin Tway, the son of 1986 PGA Championship winner Bob Tway.

“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,” said Tway, whose father followed him for the round. “I started getting the ball in the fairway a little bit more, which makes it a little bit easier to attack the hole.”

Tway’s Tour career began in in 2013, where a win at the Albertsons Boise Open presented by Kraft Nabisco helped deliver a 2013-14 PGA TOUR card, thanks to a fifth-place finish on the Regular Season money list.

The former Oklahoma State star lost his card following his rookie year, and has since played full-time on the Tour, narrowly missing out on returning to the PGA TOUR after 28th- and 27th-place finishes on the money list in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

Under the watchful eye of his father, who tallied eight wins during a standout PGA TOUR career, Tway spent the early part of the week working on his swing with just two events left in the Tour Finals.

“Sometimes I get caught (having), I don’t know, almost too (many) complicated swing thoughts, so just a real simple swing thought of keeping my head still, which has kind of been nice with my irons and I had the ball going a little straighter, which is nice,” he said.

Matching Tway with a 66 of his own was Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, who recorded the low round of the afternoon wave on Thursday.

Fernandez-Castano, 35, has seven career wins on the European Tour, where he is also an impressive 4-2 in playoffs – defeating the likes of Henrik Stenson (BMW Asian Open) and Lee Westwood (British Masters). He has competed in all four major championships, posting a career-best T10 at the 2013 U.S. Open.

The Madrid native used a T3 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in 2013 to spark a two-and-a-half-year stint on the PGA TOUR, where he notched seven additional top-25 finishes. He wound up in the Tour Finals last fall, posting three of four made cuts. A T58 finish at the Tour’s annual Qualifying Tournament gave Fernandez-Castano conditional status on Tour this year, where he has recorded two top-10 finishes, including a T9 last week in Boise.

The T9 paired with a T16 at the DAP Championship earlier this month to give Fernandez-Castano $41,500 in Tour Finals earnings, which has him eighth on the Finals money list, and secure for a return to the PGA TOUR in 2016-17.




Nationwide Children’s Championship to highlight Blake Hames, 2016 “tournament hero”



September 21, 2016



Columbus, Ohio – Tournament Officials announced today the 10th annual ceremonial first tee shot, named First Shot to Fight Cancer. The shot will mark the beginning of tournament competition for the 2016 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship at The Ohio State University Golf Club – Scarlet Course. The First Shot to Fight Cancer ceremony will begin at 7:20 a.m. on Thursday, September 22, immediately prior to the tournament’s first starting time. Professional tee times for Thursday and Friday start at 7:35 a.m. on tee Nos. 1 and 10.


Hitting the First Shot to Fight Cancer at the 2016 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship will be, “Tournament Hero”, 7-year-old Blake Hames of Westerville, Ohio. Blake was 10 months old when he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. Because of the location of the cancer, it was initially unsafe for him to have surgery to remove the tumor. Yet, if the tumor was not removed, Blake’s airway could stop functioning. In fact, it was something of a miracle that he was able to breathe at all  given the fact that the tumor had pushed his airway out of place.


The challenges Blake faced when he was diagnosed with cancer could have seemed insurmountable, but Blake, his family, and his team of doctors and nurses at Nationwide Children’s Hospital were filled with hope and up for the fight. Blake’s chemotherapy treatments began immediately. The last round shrunk the tumor to half of its original size and Blake was cleared for surgery.


While the months leading up to Blake’s surgery were long and arduous, the nine-hour procedure to remove most of his tumor must have seemed just as long to Blake’s family. Following surgery, our Tournament Hero still faced a big challenge. Because his vocal cord was paralyzed, there was only a 5% chance he would be able to eat, breath and talk normally. Once again, hope prevailed and Blake has not had difficulty with any of these things.


Today, when you see the beautiful smile on Blake’s face, it is hard to imagine the journey he endured. He was only a baby when he was diagnosed with a complicated, life-limiting cancer. But at the age of two, after months of treatment, surgery and recovery, Blake participated in a very important tradition at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. He rang the “Victory Bell” to commemorate his triumph over cancer.  Blake is now in second grade at Big Walnut Elementary School and he continues to be monitored. He and his family have been celebrating life ever since they rang that bell. They are excited to continue that celebration at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship.


Not only will Blake begin the tournament’s professional competition this Thursday morning by hitting the First Shot to Fight Cancer in a special ceremony on the first tee box, he will also conclude play on the 18th green, Sunday, 9/25, by tapping in a ceremonial putt during the Final Shot to Fight Cancer.



The Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship is owned and operated by Champions of the Community, Inc., an Ohio non-profit corporation. The event is one of four Tour Finals tournaments that will determine the 50 players who earn PGA TOUR playing privileges for the 2016-2017 season and their eligibility position under the TOUR’s enhanced qualifying system.  Featuring a purse of $1,000,000 the tournament is conducted to showcase the best golf on the Tour on one of the most challenging venues in the world, The Ohio State University – Scarlet Course, for the enjoyment of spectators and to benefit charitable organizations in central Ohio. For more information, call 614-764-GOLF or visit our website at


Named to the Top 10 Honor Roll on U.S. News & World Report’s 2016-17 list of “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals,” Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of America’s largest not-for-profit freestanding pediatric healthcare systems providing wellness, preventive, diagnostic, treatment and rehabilitative care for infants, children and adolescents, as well as adult patients with congenital disease. Nationwide Children’s has a staff of more than 11,000 providing state-of-the-art pediatric care during more than 1.2 million patient visits annually. As home to the Department of Pediatrics of The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Nationwide Children’s physicians train the next generation of pediatricians and pediatric specialists. The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of the Top 10 National Institutes of Health-funded freestanding pediatric research facilities. Nationwide Children’s remains true to the original mission since its founding in 1892 of providing care regardless of a family’s ability to pay. More information is available at



Founded (1990), owned and operated by the PGA TOUR, the Web.Com Tour continues to identify those players who are ready to compete and win on golf’s biggest stage. In 2013, the Tour became The Path to the PGA TOUR with all 50 available PGA TOUR cards coming through the Tour and the season culminating at the four-event Tour Finals. became the Tour’s umbrella sponsor on June 27, 2012. A 10-year agreement (through 2021) is in place. Three out of four PGA TOUR members are Tour alumni. Tour alumni have won 447 PGA TOUR titles, including 22 majors and six PLAYERS Championships. The PGA TOUR, through the efforts of its tours and their tournaments, sponsors, players and volunteers, surpassed $2.3 billion in charitable giving through 2015. To learn more about the PGA TOUR and Tour and to follow the season-long quest for a PGA TOUR card, visit PGATOUR.COM, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.






The Ohio State University Department of Athletics is completely self supporting and receives no university monies, tax dollars or student fees. The Department of Athletics sponsors 36 fully funded varsity teams – 17 for women, 16 for men and three that are co-educational – and is committed to providing the very finest in academic and athletics support in an effort to provide its more than 1,000 student-athletes with a quality, life-changing experience at Ohio State.




2016 Nationwide Children’s Championship Field


OSU Scarlet Course layout


Scoreboard from Wednesday's Pro-Am leaderboard


OSU Scarlet 18th green





Tee Times announced by Nationwide Children’s Championship for Wednesday’s Pro-Am





Nationwide Children’s Championship announces tees times for Rounds 1 & 2







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