Si Woo Kim becomes youngest victor of Players Championship

In this Associated Press photo, Kim Si-woo of South Korea celebrates after winning The Players Championship at TPC at Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, on May 14, 2017.

Si Woo Kim showed nerves of steel to hold on in the final round as other experienced players, like recently crowned Master Champion Sergio Garcia and overnight leaders JB Holmes and Kyle Stanley, fell away in the final stages. - Si Woo Kim earned access to a room reserved for winners of The Players Championship.

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. "I'm looking forward to working hard from now on".

He was the only player Sunday who didn't make bogey in his round of 3-under 69 for a three-shot victory.

"I'm very excited to play at the Presidents Cup", the South Korean said.

On a windy afternoon at TPC Sawgrass, where anything can go wrong without notice, Kim was the only player to go bogey-free in the final round that derailed everyone else in a hopeless pursuit of him.

Ian Poulter salutes the crowd after nearly pitching his fourth shot into the hole on the 18th green.

"I didn't expect that I could be the champion of this tournament at this young age", he said through an interpreter.

The only drama at the end came from Ian Poulter, who was happy just to be here.

"It's been a roller coaster ride", said the two-time PGA Tour victor.

Poulter, 20 years older than Kim, knew the goods when he saw the leaderboards. From the right hand rough on the 18th, he shanked his second shot, bouncing it off hospitality tents and the cart path into a bush.

He was forced to take a penalty stroke but then nearly holed out with a wedge from 115 yards to leave himself with a tap-in bogey.


A regulation birdie on the 11th was followed by a remarkable one on the 12th, where Johnson's tee shot was hooked so badly it easily cleared the water hazard to the left of the green - but from an awkward lie the US Open champion pitched to within a foot of the hole.

It was only the third albatross in the history of the tournament and the first on that hole. "And I'm very glad I could practice with him". Remarkably, Kim never did.

Even though he was eight shots out of the lead, it was his best finish at The Players Championship. "He's gone clean out there today, which is extremely impressive under that pressure". "You have to respect some good golf, and that's exactly what he's done".

Kim was the only player among the top 10 finishers not to record a bogey in his final round, during which he birdied three times. From a playing perspective to be in this situation where I can play a schedule and enjoy some golf, some of my best golf has come out this week. "He's just so mentally strong for 21 that you can't really believe that he's 21". If you can do that around this golf course, I mean you can outscore everyone. And he played like someone that was doing it for five or six years, like it was just another round of golf.

For the week, players tried to drive the green 117 times out of 296 attempts, 39 percent, with just 25 actually finding the putting surface. "Never once did he look flustered at all". With Carens on the bag, Kim opened 2015-16 with a T-17 at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba, a T-18 at the RSM Classic and a fourth-place finish at the Sony Open in Hawaii. He missed the par putt, and only had one really good look at birdie the rest of the way. His fourth shot was superb though and he was able to tap in for a bogey five. And then it turned ugly. He made a double-eagle 2 at the 16th, the first ever at the hole during the tournament.

The strength of The Players Championship is the depth of its field, the size of its purse and the pedigree of so many winners. Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson both had won here before.

As for the victor?

Kim's triumph was his second PGA Tour victory having won the 2016 Wyndham Championship, and propelled him up to 28th in the latest world rankings.

While exemptions are offered to athletes who medal at the Olympic Games or win gold at the Asian Games, significant achievements on the PGA Tour do not yet warrant an exception. Pretty incredible for such a young player!

Fellow South Korean golfer Bae Sang-Moon is now serving in the military after a court ruled against his case to avoid conscription to continue playing on tour.

Kim smashed Scott's record as youngest Players Championship victor, which the Queenslander set in 2004 aged 23 years, 8 months and 12 days.

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