Si-Woo Kim beats the best field in golf to win the Players
The South Korean was unflappable in a final bogey-free round of 69 at Sawgrass
Si Woo Kim of South Korea plays his second shot on the 18th hole during the final round of the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images
South Korea’s Si Woo Kim produced a nerveless display to become the youngest ever winner of the Players Championship as Ian Poulter had to settle for a share of second place.
Kim carded a final round of 69 at Sawgrass to finish 10 under par, three shots ahead of Poulter and former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen.
After his victory in the Wyndham Championship last year, Kim is the fourth player in the last 25 years to win twice on the PGA Tour before the age of 22, following in the footsteps of Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia and Jordan Spieth.
And the 21-year-old is also comfortably the youngest winner of the so-called “fifth major” — surpassing the record set by former world number one Adam Scott, who was 23 when he won in 2004.
Kim began the day two shots off the lead shared by Americans JB Holmes and Kyle Stanley — but birdies on the first, seventh and ninth gave him a two-shot lead at the turn.
Poulter closed the gap with a birdie on the 11th but the 41-year-old Ryder Cup star three-putted the 12th to end his bogey-free run at 39 holes and did well to salvage a bogey at the last after a wild approach into the trees resulted in a penalty drop.
A run of nine pars in succession on the back nine was enough for Kim to seal victory, while Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello produced a far more spectacular finish to claim a tie for fourth with Stanley.
Cabrera Bello holed out from 181 yards for the first albatross in tournament history on the 16th, then followed that with another two on the 17th, before holing from 35 feet for par on the last after hooking his tee shot into the water.