Si Woo Kim becomes youngest winner of Players Championship

May 15, 2017, 09:32
Si Woo Kim becomes youngest winner of Players Championship

The 21-year-old from Seoul, South Korea grabbed the lead early in the final round of The Players on Sunday and never let go.

Kim shot 10-under overall, three shots clear of Ian Poulter and Louis Oosthuizen.

"I still can t believe I m the champion and I m the youngest champion for this major tournament", Kim said through a translator. Course: TPC Sawgrass (Players Stadium Course).

"It was a big shock to the system to hit one of those nasty shanks when I've hit it as good as I have all week, but the fourth shot was pretty special, from one of the worst shots I've ever hit to one of the very best", he said.

As bogeys began to pile up all over TPC Sawgrass, Kim remained calm and made par after par after par on the back nine. He pushed his approach to the 18th so far to the right that it caromed off hospitality tents and bounced off a cart path into a palmetto bush. However, he got himself right back into contention on Saturday, firing a 68 in the third round with five birdies, including a 2 at the famed 17th hole, and just one bogey after an unfortunate mistake at the par-5 16th.

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He ended three shots ahead of Englishman Poulter, who was tied for the lead at one stage.

There was plenty of excitement Sunday.

Kim sank a 24-foot birdie putt at the par-4 seventh to seize the lead and sank an 18-foot birdie putt at the par-5 ninth to reach 10-under for a two-stroke advantage.

A day after he missed just one fairway and to tied Holmes at 9-under, Kyle Stanley found just six of 14 fairways to shoot 75.

The other co-leader was J.B. Holmes, and it was a horror show for the Kentuckian.

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Three times Kim saved par on hard bunkers shots, but he said his best up-and-down was on the par-4 14th hole - the week's second-most hard hole. He also split his time on the Tour and made four cuts in seven events, his best finish being a tie for 11th at the Mid-Atlantic Championship, which got him into the top 1000 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time, jumping from No. 1041 to No. 910 that week.

As for the victor? Ian Poulter pulled within a stroke of the champion, but he too fall apart on the back nine. Even though Kim only hit eight greens in regulation, he went six straight holes on the back without facing a par putt over 2 feet.

Stanley made his fourth birdie of the week at the par-3 17th island green, matching American Paul Azinger from 1987 as the only players to birdie the hole four times in one week.

"It was important to make the cut this week after all the highs from the Masters and how overwhelming everything was at the beginning of the week - I felt like I was playing with a little bit of the handbrake on", Garcia said. I think I've still got some work to do. He won his first tour event in 2015 (the Cleveland Open) to become the tour's second-youngest victor in its history. And at just 21 years of age and a five-year exemption with this victory, Si Woo Kim may just be getting started.

"It's just the way this course is now with this kind of grass and also the wind being a big factor the last couple days, " said Adam Scott, who tied for sixth.

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"However, regardless of me winning this tournament I really have to go to the military service, and I've already decided I'm going to go so I'm ready for that". "And I'm very glad I could practice with him".

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