Tom Kim Shares Lead in Shriners Children’s Open with Chance to Win Twice in One Season
Defending champion Tom Kim found his rhythm in Las Vegas on Saturday, shooting a spectacular 9-under 62 to grab a share of the lead in the Shriners Children’s Open. This impressive performance puts him in a position to win the same tournament twice in one season.
Kim’s 62 in the third round at the TPC Summerlin marked another year of success at this event. Last year, he also shot a 62 and went on to win in a playoff against Patrick Cantlay. Although it is technically still the same season for the PGA Tour, this victory would be a remarkable achievement.
Joining Kim at the top of the leaderboard is Adam Hadwin, who had a bogey-free round of 63. Hadwin displayed remarkable consistency, scoring more birdies on the par 3s than the par 5s. Lanto Griffin, who shared the 36-hole lead, made a late surge with three birdies in a four-hole stretch to finish with a 68, making it a three-way tie.
However, the final round of the Shriners Children’s Open is far from a three-man race. K.H. Lee also shot a 66 and is among three players just one shot behind the leaders. In total, 14 players remain within three shots of the lead, including J.T. Poston and Canadian Open champion Nick Taylor.
Poston had a chance to take the lead but encountered a series of unfortunate events on the 16th hole. His shot landed in the water, and instead of going to the drop zone in the fairway, he opted to drop in the rough for a better angle. However, his subsequent shot rebounded off the rocks and back into the water. Poston eventually finished with a triple bogey and a score of 68, joining the group at 13-under.
Similarly, Taylor missed an opportunity to seize the lead on the par-5 16th hole by failing to convert a birdie. He faced further disappointment on the par-3 17th when his tee shot found the water, resulting in a double bogey. Taylor finished with a 69, settling at 12-under with the chasing pack.
For Kim, this tournament holds a special significance as it is his first defense of a PGA Tour title. The 21-year-old South Korean, who was primarily raised in Australia, won twice last year but was unable to defend his title in the Wyndham Championship due to an ankle injury. Now, he has a chance to relive the winning moment and potentially secure another victory.
Hadwin, who last played in the BMW Championship in August, showed no signs of rust and finished with a 63. He is among the top 50 in the FedEx Cup and has secured a spot in all the $20 million events next year. However, his world ranking sits at No. 56, so a strong finish at the Shriners Children’s Open could potentially earn him a coveted spot in the Masters.
As for Griffin, this tournament is an opportunity to demonstrate his return to full health after a series of injuries, including back surgery last July. He capped off his round with late birdies, showing his competitiveness in a field where scoring birdies is crucial.
The Shriners Children’s Open promises an exciting finale, as the leaderboard remains tightly contested. With multiple players within striking distance, Sunday’s round is sure to deliver thrilling golf and intense competition.
(Note: The Associated Press contributed to this story.)