Kim was one of the hottest golfers in the world for much of 2008, claiming two victories during the year, starring in the American Ryder Cup triumph and finishing among the top three in five other tournaments.
He had had limited success this year, however, until finishing among the top 20 the past two weeks at the U.S. Open and Travelers Championship.
Kim's 62 was the lowest score ever posted at the Congressional Country Club, a course that hosted the U.S. Open in 1964 and 1997 and a PGA Championship in 1976. After starting on the back nine, Kim birdied five holes in a six-hole stretch beginning at the third.
Tiger Woods, who hosts this tournament and is playing for just the ninth time this year, shared second place at 64 with D.A. Points and Bryce Molder. Steve Elkington, Daniel Chopra, Jim Furyk and Stuart Appleby were all at 66.
Michael Allen, winner of the Senior PGA Championship this year, continued his surprising run on the regular tour. Having made the cut in 10 of his 14 tournaments this season, he opened this week with a 67.
Newly-crowned U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover, who was paired with Woods for the first round, shot a 69.