Sunday, 17 February, 2019

Si Woo Kim becomes youngest victor of Players Championship

Si Woo Kim of South Korea watches his shot from the 15th tee during the final round of The Players Championship golf tournament Sunday Ian Poulter came close to losing his PGA Tour card
Isaac Mcdaniel | 28 May, 2017, 06:42

On a TPC Sawgrass course where anything can go wrong without notice, Kim was the only player to go bogey-free Sunday and closed with a 3-under 69 for a three-shot victory in golf's biggest tournament this side of the majors.

The previous youngest champion of The Players was Adam Scott, who was 23 when he won in 2005. He made just one bogey (to eight birdies) over his final 36 holes and was never really in trouble down the stretch in the final round.

Kim's first PGA Tour victory came at last season's Wyndham Championship in his 38th PGA Tour start.

The 75th-ranked prodigy, who has played 120 professional tournaments worldwide, became only the second Asian victor of the event after South Korea's K.J. Choi in 2011.

"I think when I sit back and reflect on this week, I've played with less pressure", Poulter said.

South Korean Kim Si-Woo became the youngest victor in Players Championship history, firing a three-under par 69 on Sunday for a three-stroke US PGA Tour victory.

The 21-year-old held off challenges from some of golf's biggest names to win golf's "fifth major" and the £1.46m ($1.89m) that goes with it.

"The difference between my first victory and this one is that I am now confident I can win a major", he said. "You have to respect some good golf, and that's exactly what he's done".

Taking home a nice $1,890,000 for his spectacular performance, Kim also climbed up to a career high 28 in the world rankings to announce himself as one of golf's most promising young talents.

"Thanks for the invite and help, European Tour", said the Englishman.

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But Kim, who lit up TPC Sawgrass to the tune of a 69 on Sunday, is not a nobody, and he's now joined an all-time list of historic golfers.

Britain's Ian Poulter and South African Louis Oosthuizen shared second on 281, Poulter after a closing 71 with "Oosty" firing a 73. Never a long hitter off the tee, Kim hasn't been hitting fairways (.550, 178th on the Tour), greens (.589, 201st) and when he did finally manage a way to get to the green, he wasn't sinking much, buried at 176th in the Tour's strokes-gained putting index.

After holing from 50 feet for an eagle on the par-five second, Johnson dropped shots at the fourth and seventh before a birdie on the ninth took him to the turn in 35.

Poulter, second at last week's Players Championship, thought he had lost his PGA Tour card in April as he was ranked 197th after struggling with injury.

Kim secures a $US1.89 million winner's pay cheque and a five-year exemption on the US PGA Tour.

"I feel like I'm still dreaming that I won this championship", Kim said after clinching his first PGA Tour title.

"It's been a great experience for me to win the championship a year ago and today, because of that experience, I could be relieved and I could be very stable and especially I just focused on myself and I didn't try to think about others scores".

"I know he hit a couple of wonderful shots yesterday to get himself out of trouble, driver off the deck on 14 was a pretty impressive shot".

Choi even gave the youngster some advice before the round.


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