Si Woo Kim becomes youngest Players Championship victor


The South Korean, 21, claimed a three-shot victory on Sunday, finishing clear of Ian Poulter and Louis Oosthuizen to become the youngest victor in the history of the "fifth major".

During the final round of the Players Championship at TPC at Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, on Sunday, the 21-year-old carded three birdies while going bogey-free to wrap up the day at 3-under par.

He became the second Asian victor of the Players Championship after his idol, South Korean KJ Choi, triumphed in 2011.

"From that moment (when Choi won the 2011 Players Championship), I was dreaming that I really want to be in this tournament", Kim said.

"Because of that experience", Kim said of his previous win, "I could be relieved and I could be very stable. That's why I could do well".

Kim also becomes the second Korean golfer to win here at The Players Championship. 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.

The 21-year-old finished on -10, three shots clear of Louis Oosthuizen and Ian Poulter.

"I really wish I could have that benefit", Kim, who is only the second South Korean after K.J. Choi to reign supreme at Sawgrass, told reporters through a translator Sunday.

He also smashed Australian Adam Scott's record as youngest victor, which the Queenslander set in 2004 aged 23 years, 8 months and 12 days.

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The win was Kim's second on the PGA Tour and earned him a five-year exemption on the Tour.

As well as the huge prize money from the win, he secured his place on the PGA Tour for the next five years.

Just over four years ago, Kim came over to America to play the final version of PGA Tour's qualifying school. He doesn't have to worry about keeping his PGA Tour card next year.

Just a few weeks ago Poulter thought he had lost his Tour card, before Brian Gay realised there had been a clerical error which gave both him and Poulter back those cards just a few days later.

Poulter said that even though Kim put together a solid round on Saturday at The Players Championship, to put himself in contention, he was even better on Sunday. We reserve the right to call great players and great shots. He took a penalty drop, then hit wedge over the trees and almost holed it, tapping in for par.

The bogey was only his second over the final 46 holes of the tournament. "But the fourth shot was pretty special - from one of the worst shots I've ever hit to one of the very best".

He was given a reprieve until the end of the season and made the most of it at Sawgrass, finishing three shots behind champion Kim Si-woo to post his best finish since November 2014.

And while Kim now looks in line to make the President's Cup team, it was the rejuvinated Ian Poulter that grabbed much of the headlines.

Once Kim dropped his three birdies putts, he was unrelenting, especially when he made par saves on six of the back-nine holes.