Tom Kim of South Korea simply repeated himself.
The 21-year-old Kim shot five-under-par 66 to defeat Adam Hadwin of Canada by one stroke in the 41st Shriners Children’s Open, winning the tournament for the second straight year at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas.
“I really felt so confident in myself,” said Kim, who has won 12 times as a pro, including three titles on the PGA Tour. “I knew that if I did me, I was going to be able to do it. I’m stoked to get this one. It’s been a grind trying to figure it out. My first full season, trying to live up to the expectations of a great year. It’s been humbling sometimes.
“It’s very sweet. I feel like the first two wins came to me really quickly. It took a lot longer than my first two wins to get my third one. But it’s very sweet. This is really for my entire team. I’ve worked really hard personally, but without their help, I would not even be close to getting my third win. This is really sweet for us.
“I think because it’s sponsored by Shriners Children’s that it’s even more important, certainly because I’m only 21. I’m not the oldest guy out here, and the kids here are even younger than me. I feel like I’m kind of close in age with them, and if there’s anything I can do just to inspire one kid out there, it would mean the world.”
Kim, whose first PGA Tour victory came in the 2022 Wyndham Championship by five strokes, birdied three of the first four holes this time before making two bogeys, but then added four more birdies including a 12-foot putt at No. 15 that proved to be the winner as he recorded a score of 20-under-par 264.
Hadwin, who also has 12 victories as a pro, made four of his six birdies on the back nine against two bogeys in a 67, making a 25-foot birdie putt on the last hole to cap a 67.
“I just wasn’t as sharp off the tee or going into the greens today, for some reason,” said Hadwin, whose only PGA Tour victory came in the 2017 Valspar Championship. “I really didn’t miss a shot for the first three days. I had all kind of looks all over the golf course, and even today early, it just kind of didn’t click in quite yet.
“It took me a little bit to kind of get comfortable today, and then I did have some really good looks coming down the back there. You trade a missed putt on No. 11 with that crazy up-and-down on No. 13, and a good up-and-down on No. 14, and then I had a good chance for eagle. I kind of went back and forth. I just kind of was that one shot on No. 16 away from having a chance going up No. 18.
“Finishing second on the PGA Tour is never a terrible thing, obviously. I would like to have one swing back for sure, but if a couple of putts drop here or there, and I’m right there.”
Rookie Eric Cole of Palm Springs collected nine birdies in a bogey-free 62 and was two shots behind in a tie for third with Alex Noren of Sween, who collected seven birdies against one bogey in a 65, J.T. Poston, who sank a five-foot eagle putt on No. 16 in a bogey-free 66, and Taylor Pendrith of Canada, who had three birdies on the first six holes in a bogey-free 67.
Beau Hossler of Rancho Santa Margarita, who led after a first-round 62, birdied the first three holes in a closing 66 to wind up three strokes down in a tie for seventh with Cam Davis of Australia, who sank a 17-foot eagle putt on No. 17 in another 66; Chesson Hadley, who made a bogey on the first hole before making six birdies in one more 66; Joel Dahmen, who collected eight birdies while also shooting 66; Isaiah Salinda, who holed out from 92 feet for an eagle on the 15th hole in a 67, and K.H. Lee of South Korea, who made bogeys on two of the first three holes but then made five birdies in a 68.
Lanto Griffin, who was tied for the 36-hole lead, made three late birdies in a 70 and wound up in a tie for 13th that included Ludvig Aberg of Sweden, who helped Europe reclaim the Ryder Cup two weeks ago and closed with a 62 that included a six-foot eagle putt at No. 9, while Cameron Champ of Sacramento, the other second-round co-leader, tied for 18th after carding five birdies down the stretch in a 65.
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