BERKELEY – Michael Kim announced Thursday that he has turned professional and will forego his remaining collegiate eligibility at Cal. The San Diego-area native is expected to make his professional debut January 23-26 at the PGA TOUR’s Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines after accepting a sponsor’s exemption to play in the event.
“I can’t thank Cal enough for what it has done for me,” Kim said. “It was a really tough decision but I feel like I’m ready to take the next step in my career and turn professional. I’m very excited to make my debut at the Farmers Insurance Open in my hometown and looking forward to playing against the very best.”
Kim was the world’s top-ranked amateur and Cal’s first national player of the year in men’s collegiate golf in 2012-13 when he swept the Haskins Award, Golfstat Cup, Golfweek/Sagarin Player of the Year and Nicklaus Award for a Cal team that won 12 of 14 stroke-play tournaments to set a modern-era NCAA single-season record and was No. 1 in the final rankings by both Golfweek and Golfstat despite losing to Illinois in the match-play semifinals of the NCAA Championship.
Kim also earned first-team PING Division I All-American and All-West Region honors and was the Pac-12 Men's Golfer of the Year as a sophomore in 2012-13. In addition, he was of three finalists for The Ben Hogan Award given to the top amateur player among collegiate golfers. Kim was an individual medalist in 2012-13 a single-season school-record four times (Isleworth Collegiate Invitational, Arizona Intercollegiate, Fresno State Lexus Classic, Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters) and tied for second on two other occasions (Gopher Invitational, Western Intercollegiate) among his seven top-five and team-high 10 top-10 finishes.
“Michael has left a fabulous legacy at Cal and will always be a great Golden Bear,” head coach Steve Desimone said. “We wish him all the best in his professional career.”
Kim followed his 2012-13 collegiate season by earning a spot in the 2013 U.S. Open in June and then finishing as the low amateur in the event by tying for 17th place after rising to as high as tied for third during the third round. He also made the cut as an amateur at the PGA TOUR’s Greenbrier Classic and reached the finals of the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship in July. In addition, Kim was on the winning United States teams in 2013 for both the Palmer Cup and Walker Cup.
Kim returned to Cal for the 2013 fall semester and played in three of five team events for a squad that won three times while finishing third and fourth once each to give Cal 21 victories in its last 33 stroke-play events since the beginning of the 2011-12 season and top-five finishes in all 33. Kim and collegiate teammate Michael Weaver also played as individuals representing Cal in November at the Sun Bowl Western Refining College All-America Golf Classic, where Kim had a season-best tied for fourth-place finish.
After the 2013-14 collegiate fall campaign Kim participated in the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament as an amateur and tied for 56th.
Kim finished his collegiate career with four individual medalist honors and a 70.8 stroke average, taking 6,517 strokes over 92 rounds during his two-plus seasons at Cal.