Si Woo Kim cruises to first win at Wyndham

By Associated PressAugust 21, 2016, 11:38 pm

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Si Woo Kim won the Wyndham Championship by five strokes Sunday for his first PGA Tour title.

The 21-year-old South Korean player closed with a 3-under 67 to finish at 21-under 259 at Sedgefield Country Club, tying the tournament 72-hole record set eight years ago by Carl Pettersson.

Kim matched Pettersson by sinking an uphill 14-foot birdie putt on the final hole.

Kim set a tournament record with a 60 in the second round. He earned 500 FedEx Cup points and $1,008,000 in prize money in the regular-season finale.

Luke Donald was second at 16 under after a 67. Hideki Matsuyama and Brandt Snedeker were 15 under, also each shooting 67.

Kim pretty much locked up the tournament on the par-5 15th.

Donald birdied that hole to pull within three strokes of Kim at 16 under, and Rafa Cabrera Bello - Kim's playing partner - joined him by chipping in for eagle from a greenside bunker on that hole.

Kim then pushed a 15-foot eagle putt to the right of the hole, but tapped in a 4-footer for the birdie that put him back up by four strokes with three holes left.

With only six players left on the course and the final pairing headed to the 17th tee, play was suspended for 1 hour, 21 minutes as thunderstorms passed through.

That only meant Kim had to wait a little while longer for his victory party.

He vaulted to the top of the leaderboard Friday with his record round - he missed a 50-foot putt on his final hole for 59 - then stayed there Saturday with a 64 that put him up by four strokes entering the final day.

He'd come close to a win once before, losing to Aaron Baddeley in a playoff last month in Alabama in the Barbasol Championship.

It looked as if Kim would cruise in this one after he had four birdies on his front nine, including two in a row on Nos. 8-9 to move to 22 under and put him on pace for the record. When he made the turn, nobody was within six strokes of him.

But things briefly got tense on the back nine: Kim lost a stroke on the 10th after missing a 4-foot par putt in a driving rain, then gave two more back with bogeys on Nos. 13-14 to slip to 19 under.

''You had to play a perfect round of golf'' to catch Kim, Snedeker said. ''If he did what he has been doing all week, he's really, really tough to catch.''

The dominant subplot each year at the Wyndham - the tour's regular-season finale - is the push by the bubble players to crack the top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings and qualify for The Barclays next week at Bethpage Black.

While Kim - who came to Greensboro at No. 43 on the points list - didn't need any help, others certainly did.

Whee Kim, a South Korean player who arrived at No. 125, and No. 124 Matt Jones both slipped out of the playoff field after missing the cut.

Kyle Stanley and Shawn Stefani both finished 12 under - good enough to put them both in The Barclays. Stanley arrived at No. 127 while Stefani started at No. 133.

''I knew I had to come in here and have a good week,'' Stefani said. ''Just been a whirlwind of emotions this week and I've really felt good about my game and really love the direction my game is headed.''

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.