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After mid-round grip change, hole-out finish, Si Woo Kim takes FedEx St. Jude lead

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Sometimes it's not how you start, but how you finish. 

Si Woo Kim withdrew from last week's Wyndham Championship during the final round due to an illness. Just four days later, however, he teed it up in Memphis at the FedExCup Playoffs' opener and has put himself in a position to win. 

He made the turn at 1 under and then recorded a birdie at the 10th. But, feeling uncomfortable on the greens, he made an adjustment.

"It was great to start ... and then I was a little struggling putting and then I just decided to change the putting grip," Kim said after Round 1.

The 27-year-old South Korean parred Nos. 11 and 12 and then had four straight birdies. He stepped up to TPC Southwind's par-4 18th tied for the lead at 6 under, but walked off the hole with a two-stroke advantage. 

Full-field scores from FedEx St. Jude Championship

After hitting his tee shot 278 yards into the fairway, Kim holed out for eagle from 168 yards with an 8-iron. He finished the day with an opening 62 — his lowest Tour round since the 2020 Wyndham Championship. 

"I'm just trying to like 10 feet on left side and it was perfect shot," he said of the walk-off eagle finish.

The world No. 62 came into this week 50th in the FedExCup standings. Now, thanks in part to his back-nine scoring barrage, Kim is tied for the clubhouse lead with J.J. Spaun after the morning wave. He'll look to build on that as he tries to make the Tour Championship for the first time since 2016.