It has been seven years since Jeremiah Kim Leun Kwang won the 100Plus Malaysian Junior Open Under-18 category.
Much was expected of him but it has been a long road to recognition as his results were not as positive as rival and best friend, Gavin Kyle Green, the highest ranked Malaysian on the world tour (No. 188).
Since winning the Malaysian Junior title in 2011, Kim had sporadic success at amateur level before turning professional later that year.
He has carved out a good living on the local tours but only won his maiden professional title at the CIMB National Championship on Sept 28.
That victory earned him a dream slot at the US$7 million CIMB Classic which tees off on Thursday.
While Green, who was overall champion at the 2009 100Plus Malaysian Junior Open, has played a couple of times at the only PGA Tour tournament in Malaysia, this year marks Kim’s debut.
“I have been at this tournament before but only to lend support to my best friend (Green),” said an excited Kim.
“But now it is different as I will be the one playing. Gavin has been a big help throughout my career.
“He is also texting me advice, especially two weeks ago when I was going for the title.”
Kim said he was glad to finally break the duck and win his first professional title which was worth RM30,000.
Having tasted victory, the 23-year-old now aims for a strong finish at the CIMB Classic – which many golfing aficionados consider the unofficial Malaysian Open as the national tournament has been a no-show since 2015.
Kim and Ben Leong will be Malaysia’s flag bearers at the tournament as Green is playing on the European Tour’s British Masters where he is bidding to qualify for the season-ending Tour Championship in Dubai.
Only the top 60 will make the cut and Green is now 81st in the Race to Dubai.