Notches first PGA TOUR victory with the FedExCup Playoffs up next
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Si Woo Kim had a productive week at the Wyndham Championship. He claimed one tournament record, a share of another — and, most importantly, his first PGA TOUR trophy.
The 21-year-old South Korean player closed with a 3-under 67 for a five-stroke victory Sunday. He had a 21-under 259 total at Sedgefield, tying the event 72-hole record set eight years ago by Carl Pettersson.
Kim matched Pettersson by sinking an uphill 14-foot birdie putt on the final hole, then said through an interpreter that he “never expected any course record.”
Kim set a tournament record with a 60 in the second round. He earned 500 FedExCup points and $1,008,000 in prize money in the regular-season finale.
He said he “aggressively played because (I) already made the top 125” on the points list, and that he “felt confidence — (I don’t) have any fear attacking the pin.”
Kim became the youngest winner on the PGA TOUR this season, and the second-youngest in tournament history; Seve Ballesteros was 20 when he won here in 1978. Kim also became the eighth player from South Korea to win on the PGA TOUR — they’ve combined for 18 victories — and the second to do so in Greensboro, joining 2005 winner K.J. Choi.
Luke Donald was second at 16 under after a 67. Hideki Matsuyama and Brandt Snedeker were 15 under, also each shooting 67.
“He looked like he was very much in control of his game, and he was going to be a hard man to catch,” Donald said.
Kim pretty much locked up the tournament on the par-5 15th.
Donald birdied that hole to pull within three strokes of Kim at 16 under, and Rafa Cabrera Bello — Kim’s playing partner — joined him by chipping in for eagle from a greenside bunker on that hole.
Kim then pushed a 15-foot eagle putt to the right of the hole, but tapped in a 4-footer for the birdie that put him back up by four strokes with three holes left.
With only six players left on the course and the final pairing headed to the 17th tee, play was suspended for 1 hour, 21 minutes as thunderstorms passed through.
That only meant Kim had to wait a little while longer for his victory party.
He vaulted to the top of the leaderboard Friday with his record round — he missed a 50-foot putt on his final hole for 59 — then stayed there Saturday with a 64 that put him up by four strokes entering the final day.
He’d come close to a win once before, losing to Aaron Baddeley in a playoff last month in Alabama in the Barbasol Championship.
Kim said he “never expected” another chance at victory “coming so soon.”
It looked as if Kim would cruise in this one after he had four birdies on his front nine, including two in a row on Nos. 8 and 9 to move to 22 under and put him on pace for the record. When he made the turn, nobody was within six strokes of him.
But things briefly got tense on the back nine: Kim lost a stroke on the 10th after missing a 4-foot par putt in a driving rain, then gave two more back with bogeys on Nos. 13 and 14 to slip to 19 under.
“You had to play a perfect round of golf” to catch Kim, Snedeker said. “If he did what he has been doing all week, he’s really, really tough to catch.”
The dominant subplot each year at the Wyndham is the push by the bubble players to crack the top 125 in the FedExCup standings and qualify for The Barclays next week at Bethpage Black.
While Kim — who came to Greensboro at No. 43 on the points list — didn’t need any help, others certainly did.
Whee Kim, a South Korean player who arrived at No. 125, and No. 124 Matt Jones both slipped out of the playoff field after missing the cut.
Kyle Stanley and Shawn Stefani both finished 12 under — good enough to put them both in The Barclays. Stanley arrived at No. 127 while Stefani started at No. 133.
“I knew I had to come in here and have a good week,” Stefani said. “Just been a whirlwind of emotions this week and I’ve really felt good about my game and really love the direction my game is headed.”