South Korean Kim be­comes youngest win­ner at Play­ers

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - DOUG FER­GU­SON

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.

CHRIS O’MEARA, THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Twenty-one-year-old Si Woo Kim cel­e­brates win­ning The Play­ers Cham­pi­onship golf tour­na­ment Sun­day in Ponte Ve­dra Beach, Fla.

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