South Korean Kim becomes youngest winner at Players
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLA. — Si Woo Kim of South Korea became the youngest winner of The Players Championship with a game and nerves well beyond his 21 years. 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. He also managed to take all the suspense from the TPC Sawgrass. All that could stop him was the final two holes, when Kim had a two-shot lead and faced a tee shot to an island green, and then a closing hole with water all the way down the left side. Kim hit the 17th green and two-putted from 45 feet, and he smashed another drive right down the middle. The only drama came from Ian Poulter, who was happy just to be here. Poulter, who only two weeks ago was spared his full PGA Tour status because of a clerical oversight, was the only player to seriously challenge Kim until he ran out of holes. 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. He took a penalty drop, then hit wedge over the trees and nearly holed it, tapping in for par. Poulter, who had gone 39 holes without a bogey until a crucial one at No. 12, closed with a 71. He tied for second with Louis Oosthuizen (73). There was plenty of excitement Sunday. Rafa Cabrera Bello of Spain hit 8-iron that bounded off the side of a bunker and into the cup for an albatross 2 on the par-5 16th. He shot a 70 and tied for fourth with Kyle Stanley, a co-leader after 54 holes who shot 75. The top Canadian was Dundas’s Mackenzie Hughes, who was the co-leader on the first day on Thursday with a 67. He shot a 71 on Sunday and finished tied for 16th. Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C., tied for 30th and David Hearn of Brantford tied for 69th.
Twenty-one-year-old Si Woo Kim celebrates winning The Players Championship golf tournament Sunday in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.