Si Woo Kim an early co-leader at FedEx St. Jude Championship after hole-out on No. 18

Photo by Mark Humphrey, AP

Si Woo Kim turned his back on the 18th pin and threw both arms in the air, smiling the whole way.

The 168-yard first-round walk-off hole-out helped him finish Thursday with a flourish at the FedEx St. Jude Championship at TPC Southwind in Memphis. The eagle left him at 8-under and the early leader in the clubhouse – if only for less than an hour.

Soon afterward, J.J. Spaun also came off the course at 8 under after making birdie on two of his last three holes. Tony Finau and J.T. Poston were tied for third at 6 under apiece.

Kim’s eagle – the second-longest hole-out of his career – punctuated an unprecedented personal performance on the back nine. The 27-year-old South Korean carded a 28 on Nos. 10-18, the lowest nine-hole score of his career. He said he used an 8-iron on the shot that drew thousands of video views on social media.

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“I’m just trying to like 10 feet on left side and it was perfect shot, came off,” said Kim, who entered the FedExCup Playoffs at 50th in the points standings.

Spaun also closed strong, birdieing Nos. 16 and 18. He said his second shot on the 16th was his best of the day. But his progression through No. 18 perfectly encapsulated his strong round.

“I hit it right down the middle and then hit an 8-iron about 15 feet short of the pin, just a little uphill right-to-lefter,” Spaun said. “I saw my line as I walked up to the green, I knew exactly where I had to hit it and I just had to execute that. Hit it with great speed and it went right in the middle and that’s kind of how the whole day went, honestly.”

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