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Anthony Kim after 53rd in LIV debut: Played ‘like a--' but ‘very encouraged’

Anthony Kim forgot to put a ball marker in his pocket Sunday in Saudi Arabia, so when he got to his first green, he had to scramble back to his golf bag. He’d bogey the hole, and his next two.

Slow starts were an issue for the 38-year-old Kim as he made his first competitive start in nearly 12 years.

“Unfortunately, it’s still taking me a couple holes to get comfortable,” Kim said Sunday after wrapping up a 4-over 74 and finishing last among the 53 players who completed 54 holes at LIV Jeddah. “I think most of my over-par scores are the first six holes. If I can just figure a way to get my mind right before I get out there, I think I’ll be in great shape.”

Niemann adds this title to his one in Mexico. Kim was making his first pro start since 2012.

Kim carded just four birdies for the tournament and ended up at 16 over, 33 shots back of winner Joaquin Niemann. He was a combined 8 over on his first four holes on Saturday and Sunday, and Kim believes more reps will help him avoid the poor stretches.

“I’m definitely hitting the ball well,” Kim said. “I’m doing a lot of things well. I know the scores don’t reflect that. It’s disappointing to score that way. But at the same time, I know I have a lot to build on, and I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing… My swing is fine. I’m putting, I’m chipping, I’m doing everything well. I’m just not as focused as I need to be over the shots.

“I think that that’s just time and some more repetition. I think I can take care of that pretty quickly.”

Kim was most encouraged by a shot he hit on his penultimate hole on Sunday. He drove it in the trees on the par-4 13th hole and into a hook lie. He then threaded the ball from the dirt and through two trunks to set up a successful par save.

“That’s something that I haven’t been able to do the first three days,” Kim said. “To be able to pull that shot off, even though it was one shot, it was great for my mind and gives me a lot of confidence going into next week.”

Kim is signed on to play the rest of the season as a wild-card competitor. His next start will come next week at LIV Hong Kong.

“Obviously, it was a rough week,” Kim said. “I’m excited to be playing professional golf again. I feel very blessed that I have this opportunity. I’ve got a lot to work on, but I had a lot of good things go my way this week. So, I’m looking forward to building on that and being in contention at some point this year.”

”... I’m more encouraged after playing this tournament and playing like a--, really. But I’m very encouraged. I’m excited about what’s coming. My game is starting to shape up. I’m doing things that I used to do before.”