SAN DIEGO – Making just his second PGA Tour start, rookie John Huh made three eagles during a 64 in the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open. One sensible response to such a rare occurrence might be, “Huh?”
Now the 21-year-old Korean-American is tied for second entering Sunday’s final round, five strokes behind second-year Tour player Kyle Stanley.
That makes for a Huh statement instead of question.
The Q-School graduate who has taken the road less traveled to golf’s big show has proved to be a quick study. Only a few years ago, he wasn’t even the best player on his high school team. Saturday, he shot up the leaderboard by making seven birdies in a third-round 68 on the difficult Torrey Pines South Course.
Apparently he was in some sort of zone, because he said afterward that he didn’t realize he had made seven birdies.
“I just know I made two good putts,” he said.
The reference was to a 46-foot putt on No. 2 and a 37-footer at 16, both for birdie.
“I’m just trying to learn,” he said.
What did he learn Saturday?
“I learned you have to make a lot of putts,” he said.
He has taught us there is no one path to the Tour. He was born in New York, lived most of his first dozen years in South Korea, moved to Chicago for three years, attended high school in Los Angeles and went to Cal State-Northridge for a couple of weeks before playing the Korean Tour for three years.
He won in Korea in 2010, got a big confidence boost and here he is.
Odd name and all.
With his surname, Huh is used to teasing. In high school in particular, he got the “Huh?” treatment often.
“It was pretty annoying,” he said. “They made fun of me a little bit.”
But now he sees the name as a positive. Noticing that fans yell “boo” at Boo Weekley, he welcomes the noise.
“It turns out to be a good (thing),” he said. “I hope to hear it tomorrow.”
Huh made the cut in his first Tour start, at the Sony Open, where he shot a 65 and finished 53rd. He says his goal is to make cuts and keep his card.
He’s got the first thing down already, thanks largely to a strong tee-to-green game. He leads the tournament in driving accuracy and ranks second in ball-striking. On top of that, he ranks second in total distance of putts made, mainly because of the two Saturday bombs.
Sunday could go a long way in taking care of that second piece of business.
If nothing else, attitude shouldn’t be a problem.
“A lot of players have passion about (golf), but I guess the Korean player has more passion or a more good attitude,” he said. “There’s a lot of good players over there in Korea that are really looking forward to coming over here. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be really soon.”