Tom Kim Defends at Shriners

(AP report) LAS VEGAS — Tom Kim now has something in common with Byron Nelson: They’re the only two players to have won the same PGA Tour event twice in the same season.

Kim repeated Sunday in the Shriners Children’s Open when the budding South Korean star closed with a 5-under-par 66 to emerge from a pack of a dozen players who had a chance in the final hour. Kim finished at 20-under 264 in the 72-hole tournament and wound up winning by one shot over Canada’s Adam Hadwin, who birded the final hole for a 67.

Kim now has three PGA Tour titles in the past 15 months, and at 21 he is the youngest player since Tiger Woods in 1997 to have three wins on the circuit.

“I really felt confident in myself,” Kim said. “I knew that if I did me, I was going to be able to do it. I’m stoked to get this one.”

He won in Las Vegas a year ago, beating Patrick Cantlay in a playoff at TPC Summerlin when the tournament was early in the season. Now the Las Vegas event is still part of the same season because the PGA Tour goes to a calendar-year season starting in 2024.

Nelson won the San Francisco Open in January 1944 and the same tournament in December of that year, both times at Harding Park.

This one was up for grabs until Kim seized control on the par-5 16th.

With an hour left in the tournament, there was a six-way tie for the lead and 12 players were separated by a single shot. The key stretch at the TPC Summerlin was No. 13 through No. 16, which ranked as four of the five easiest holes in the final round.

Taylor Pendrith was tied for the lead with a birdie on the 13th, but he had to settle for pars the rest of that stretch and K.H. Lee made all pars. Then it became a two-man race between Kim and Hadwin, playing in the final group with Kim holding a one-shot advantage.

Both birdied the 13th, Hadwin with a 35-foot birdie putt that rimmed all the way around the cup before dropping. Both birdied the reachable par-4 15th, Kim with a tough up-and-down and birdie putt from 12 feet, Hadwin narrowly missing a 25-foot eagle attempt.

It turned on the par-5 16th. Kim hit to the fat of the green in two shot, 50 feet away for eagle. Hadwin knew he missed his shot right after contact, and it came up well short and into the water. Hadwin missed a six-foot par putt after his penalty drop, and Kim three-putted — he had to make a five-footer on his third one — for par.

That gave Kim a two-shot lead with two to play, and he closed with solid pars.

Baylor School graduate Luke List, the winner of a five-man playoff at the Sanderson Farms Championship a week earlier for the second PGA Tour win of his career, tied for 18th at 15 under after closing with a 67 that included an eagle on the par-5 ninth hole.

Scores: https://www.pgatour.com/tournaments/2022/shriners-childrens-open/R2023047

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