Si Woo Kim becomes youngest ever Players Champion
- Author: Julie Sanders May 28, 2017,
May 28, 2017, 0:26
Si Woo Kim of South Korea became the youngest victor of The Players Championship with a game and nerves well beyond his 21 years.
Kim becomes the second player from South Korea to win the tournament, joining K.J. Choi in 2011. "I think that really helped me to be stable". "That's why I could do well".
The conditions made it near impossible for one of Kim's challengers to reach him with the eventual victor meeting them in the middle with some dropped shots.
Poulter reduced the deficit to one to get back in to contention, but as Kim scrambled for par on the first two holes of the back nine, the 41-year-old gave away his chance at glory with a dropped shot on the 12th and several missed opportunitiies.
"From being in a position a couple of weeks ago where I wasn't here to finish tied second, it's a good week", said Poulter after finishing three shots behind South Korea's Si Woo Kim - his best finish since November 2014.
Kim, who doesn't celebrate his 22nd birthday until June 28, said: "I didn't expect that I could be the champion of this tournament at this young age". It was just the third albatross in Players Championship history, and the first on that hole.
Kim secures a $US1.89 million winner's pay cheque and a five-year exemption on the US PGA Tour. He gets a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, and a three-year exemption to the Masters.
Kim finished tied for 20th at the 2012 PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament at PGA West near Palm Springs, Calif., at age 17 years, 5 months, 6 days, making him the youngest player to graduate from qualifying school.
He had already notched a maiden USA tour win at last year's Wyndham Championship.
A group ahead, Ian Poulter locked up his best PGA Tour finish since being solo runner-up in the 2013 WGC-HSBC Champions.
The shot of the day for Kim might have come at the par-4 14th when he pumped a 360-yard drive and then blew his second shot over the green. 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 almost holed it, tapping in for bogey.
Through the first nine holes on Sunday, Kim was 3-under par.
"I know he hit a couple of unbelievable shots yesterday to get himself out of trouble. but he's gone clean out there today, which is extremely impressive under that pressure".
Poulter has been reluctant to play at Wentworth in recent years as he was not a fan of the greens, but all 18 have been replaced at the revamped West Course in a huge project overseen by Ernie Els, Paul McGinley and current Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn. He stuffed his tee shot to 5 feet on the par-3 17th for birdie, and after hooking his tee shot into the water on the 18th, he rolled in a long putt from off the 18th green for par. J.B. Holmes had an absolute shocker. Holmes, the worst in the final round score by anyone at TPC Sawgrass since 2009.