Tom Kim becomes youngest golfer to win three PGA Tour titles since Tiger Woods

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Tom Kim Wins 2023 Shriners Children’s Open and Celebrates with Chocolate

CNN – After an exhilarating tournament in Las Vegas, Tom Kim, one of golf’s brightest rising stars, celebrated his title defense by indulging in some chocolate. The 21-year-old South Korean phenom emerged victorious in a nail-biting final round showdown with Adam Hadwin, securing his win at the Shriners Children’s Open at TPC Summerlin on Sunday, edging out the Canadian by a single stroke.

Kim, who shot a remarkable nine-under 62 on Saturday, managed a final round 66 to claim the $1.512 million winner’s prize. This victory not only makes Kim the first golfer to defend the Shriners Children’s Open since Jim Furyk in 1999, but also the youngest player to win three PGA Tour titles since Tiger Woods.

Despite being in Las Vegas, Kim opted to avoid the lively strip, instead choosing to stay near the course in a quiet hotel. As a celebration, he enjoyed a white chocolate Ferrero Rocher while ordering room service. He even set an alarm for 3 a.m in order to catch his early morning flight. Kim remarked to reporters, “I’m not a really big fancy loud type of guy, so when I come to Vegas, I don’t really like going to the strip. I stay five minutes from the course where it’s really quiet and it’s really nice. Back-to-back is great, so Summerlin and I are bonded very well. Hopefully, it’s nice to me again next year, as well.”

Kim toasts his win on the 18th green.

Kim’s victory in Sunday’s competition propelled him five places up to a career-high world No. 11 ranking. Since turning pro in 2018, the South Korean has experienced a meteoric rise in his career, showcasing exceptional performances in major tournaments this season.

Prior to 2023, Kim had not placed within the top-20 at a major. However, he secured a tied-16th position at The Masters, improved to tied-eighth at the US Open, and finished as joint-runner up at the Open Championship in July behind Brian Harman. These performances have solidified his status as one of golf’s most promising young talents.

The Shriners Children’s Open holds a special significance for Kim due to its association with the Shriners hospitals, which provide free treatment to children with certain conditions, regardless of their families’ ability to pay. Kim expressed, “I think because it’s sponsored by Shriners Children’s that’s even more special. Certainly because I’m 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. They inspired me so much at the start of the week. I’m just really glad that I kept the trophy in my hands this year again.”

World No. 46 Hadwin seemed on track for a second PGA Tour title until disaster struck at the par-five 16th hole. Hadwin’s approach shot landed in the water, resulting in a bogey. Despite a closing birdie attempt, Kim remained unblemished throughout the back-nine holes, ultimately securing his victory. Hadwin admitted, “I completely whiffed it, up and out of it, and unfortunately, it was one of my worst swings of the day at the least opportune time. Tom is just so steady… fairways and greens, he never gets out of rhythm, out of pace. Five-under was seemingly the absolute worst he would have shot today. I knew it was going to take a good round to compete and to win.”

Tom Kim and Adam Hadwin playing in the final round
Kim and Hadwin played out a thrilling final round showdown.

In the same tournament, Lexi Thompson, an 11-time LPGA Tour winner, came close to becoming the first woman to make the cut at a PGA Tour event in 78 years. Unfortunately, she fell three strokes short of advancing to the weekend rounds of the Shriners Children’s Open. Thompson, who teed off as the seventh woman to compete in a PGA Tour tournament, expressed her gratitude for the support she received from other players and fans. She said, “All the guys were so welcoming. It’s the best feeling just seeing the amount of kids out there screaming ‘Lexi, Lexi, go Lexi’. It makes me tear up sometimes because that is what I play for, to inspire these little kids. No added pressure. Of course it was a goal making the cut, but I knew I had to play my A-game.”

Lexi Thompson taking a swing
Thompson fell short of making the cut despite a strong second round showing.


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