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

by Joanne Miller

South Korean golfer Tom Kim emerged victorious at the 2023 Shriners Children’s Open, successfully defending his title from the previous year. The 21-year-old phenom defeated Canadian Adam Hadwin in a nail-biting final round to secure the win by a single stroke. Kim’s impressive performance in the tournament earned him a $1.512 million cash prize.

Kim’s journey to victory started with a remarkable nine-under 62 on Saturday, setting him up for the final round. Despite the intense competition, Kim managed to shoot a solid 66 in the last round, securing his back-to-back victory at the Shriners Children’s Open. With this achievement, Kim became the first golfer since Jim Furyk in 1999 to defend the title and the youngest player to win three PGA Tour titles since Tiger Woods.

While his triumph in Las Vegas could have been a reason to celebrate on the strip, Kim opted for a more low-key approach. Instead of indulging in the city’s festivities, he retreated to his hotel room, enjoyed some white chocolate Ferrero Rocher, and ordered room service. The young golfer prefers a quieter environment and mentioned that he is happy to be near the TPC Summerlin course, where the Shriners Children’s Open takes place. Kim expressed his hope that the course will continue to be kind to him in the future.

Following his win, Kim’s world ranking improved to a career-high No. 11. Since turning pro in 2018, he has experienced a meteoric rise in the golf world. This season, Kim showcased his skills in major tournaments, finishing tied-16th at The Masters, tied-eighth at the US Open, and joint-runner up at the Open Championship. These performances have solidified his position among the sport’s most promising young talents.

Kim’s victory at the Shriners Children’s Open held special significance due to its association with the Shriners Hospitals for Children. The hospitals provide free treatment to children regardless of their families’ ability to pay. Kim acknowledged the impact of the event’s sponsorship, stating that he feels a connection with the young patients. He expressed his desire to inspire and make a difference in their lives.

Adam Hadwin, the runner-up in the tournament, had a chance at victory before a mishap at the 16th hole, where his approach shot landed in the water. Despite his efforts to limit the damage with a bogey, Kim’s flawless performance in the back-nine prevented Hadwin from catching up.

In a notable moment for women’s golf, Lexi Thompson, a veteran of the LPGA Tour, aimed to become the first woman in 78 years to make the cut at a PGA Tour event. Although she fell short by three strokes, Thompson showcased her talent and determination during the tournament. She expressed her gratitude for the support and inspiration she receives from fans, particularly young children who look up to her.

Overall, Tom Kim’s successful title defense at the 2023 Shriners Children’s Open solidifies his status as one of golf’s rising stars. His remarkable achievements at such a young age and his dedication to making a positive impact reflect the bright future ahead for the South Korean golfer.

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