He doesn’t fit the mold of the young players who are taking a direct route from the college game to the PGA TOUR. His game is predicated on accuracy, not overwhelming distance. Ghim, who stands 5-foot-9 and weighs 165 pounds, is 45th in driving distance this week (289 yards) but ranks in the top 10 in both greens hit and driving accuracy.
“I like hard golf courses,” he said. “When it penalizes other guys to miss the fairway, it puts me in a good spot to make a move on the leaderboard. … Obviously when you’re crooked and you’re only hitting it 270, then that’s not good.”
Ghim’s best pro finish is a T8 at the European Masters and also had top-25 finishes at the Barracuda Championship (T23) and Wyndham Championship (T20). He finished third at the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament in December to give him status on that circuit, as well.
He was T45 in the season-opening Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay but missed the second event of the season to compete at Torrey Pines. A top-10 this week would get him into next week’s Waste Management Phoenix Open.
“This week, I’ve been adamant about having a good attitude,” he said. “My first tournament on the Web.com Tour, in the Bahamas, I hit it the best I have in a while, but at Q-School I didn’t hit it well but I had a great attitude, which is probably why I did so well.”
Ghim started this week with a 9-under par 63 on Torrey Pines’ North Course. His third-round 67 on the South Course was six shots better than the previous day. He gained 4.4 strokes on the greens Saturday after holing 3 of his 5 attempts from 10-15 feet and both of his putts from 15-20 feet.
He didn’t have to make long putts for either of his final two birdies, though. He hit a 5-iron to 5 feet on the 16th hole before wedging to 3 feet on the last hole.
“It’s my first time in this big of a tournament to have a chance (to win), albeit pretty far back,” Ghim said. “I don’t foresee Justin coming back to the field much at all, so for me to have a chance tomorrow, I have to do something really special.”