LA QUINTA, Calif. (AP) — Si Woo Kim birdied two of the final three holes to finish a rock-solid, 8-under 64, coolly rallying past late-charging Patrick Cantlay by one shot to win The American Express on Sunday for his third PGA Tour victory.
A year after Kim withdrew from the desert tournament because of a back injury following an awful first round, he began the final round with a share of the lead as he attempted to win for the first time since the 2017 Players Championship.
The 25-year-old South Korean didn’t flinch when Cantlay shot a 61 and surged out of 13th place to the front while breaking the Stadium Course record by two strokes.
Playing six groups behind Cantlay, Kim comfortably birdied the par-5 16th to pull even. Kim then buried a 19-foot birdie putt on the island green on the 17th to take the lead, joyously pumping his fist when his perfectly paced putt dropped.
Kim wrapped up his third bogey-free round of the tournament — all on the Pete Dye-designed Stadium Course — with a two-putt par on the 18th to finish at 23-under 265.
Kim had a much better time than he did last year in his return to the Palm Springs-area tournament long hosted by Bob Hope. A year ago, Kim shot a 15-over 87 in the opening round on the easier neighboring Nicklaus Course before withdrawing.
Australia’s Cameron Davis shot a 64 to finish in a career-best third at 20 under. Tony Finau had a 68 and finished fourth after starting the final round with a share of the lead in his quest to land his long-awaited second PGA Tour win.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Jessica Korda closed with a 5-under 66 and holed a 30-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole to beat Danielle Kang in the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions and start the LPGA Tour season on a good note.
Korda won for the sixth time on the LPGA Tour, and it was her first victory in nearly three years. She shot a career-best 60 on Saturday.
Kang started the final round at Four Seasons Golf and Sports Club Orlando with a two-shot lead, which she quickly stretched to four shots with an opening birdie and Korda dropping a shot on the third hole. That was Korda’s last mistake.
Kang had a two-shot lead with four holes to play when she made her first bogey of the tournament — and her first bogey in 65 holes dating to last season — on the 15th. Korda caught her with a birdie on the 16th.
Nelly Korda, the younger sister of Jessica who joined them in the final group, got within two shots of the lead. She closed with a 64 and finished two shots out of the playoff.
Kang, who shot 68, had to make a 4-foot par putt on the par-3 18th to force a playoff at 24-under 260.
Going back to the 18th for the playoff, Kang appeared to have an advantage with a tee shot pin-high about 18 feet to the right. Korda was 30 feet short, roughly the same putt she had in regulation. This time, she read the speed perfectly and rolled it in. Kang’s birdie putt to extend the playoff was low all the way.
Former tennis player Mardy Fish won the celebrity portion of the tournament, using the Modified Stableford format.
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Tyrrell Hatton won the European Tour’s season-opening Abu Dhabi Championship by four strokes after overnight leader Rory McIlroy faded.
Hatton shot a 6-under 66 to finish at 18-under 270 at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. The Englishman won his sixth tour title.
Australia’s Jason Scrivener closed with a 66 to finish second. He had an eagle and five birdies in a back-nine 29.
McIlroy was third at 13 under after a 72.
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