ATLANTA (Reuters) - Having set his sights on simply making a PGA Tour cut in his rookie season on the U.S. circuit, John Huh can hardly believe he has qualified for the elite Tour Championship at East Lake.
Huh, who describes himself as Korean-American after spending about half his life in each country, won his maiden PGA Tour title at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in February and is one of only 30 players in this week’s final playoff event.
“I feel really lucky to be here, especially as a rookie,” the ever humble Huh told reporters at East Lake on Wednesday while preparing for Thursday’s opening round.
”Before I started the season, I told myself I want to just play a weekend, which is not easy to do on the PGA Tour, making the cut and playing a weekend, and being in contention.
“That was my goal before the season started, but it changed a little bit in the middle of the year.”
That goal change came after Huh had beaten Australian Robert Allenby in a marathon playoff lasting eight holes at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico.
It was only the fifth start on the U.S. circuit by Huh who had never previously competed on either the PGA Tour or the second-tier Nationwide Tour before earning his playing card at qualifying school in December.
Though he can now boast he is one of the top 30 players on the PGA Tour based on his impressive form this season, Huh is wary of becoming too complacent.
“Even though I‘m where I‘m at right now, I just want to feel like I‘m a rookie, and not give myself too high expectations,” said the 22-year-old who was born in New York before moving to South Korea with his parents until the age of 12.
“I think I should just stay where I‘m at right now ... play the weekend first, play good and finish well.”
Huh, who overhauled K.J. Choi to win the Korean Tour’s Shinhan Donghae Open in 2010 by two shots, has been paired with U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson for Thursday’s opening round at East Lake.
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Frank Pingue