Once again, Tom Kim has emerged as a triumphant figure in the vibrant city of Las Vegas. A year after securing victory at the Shriners Children’s Open, Kim returned to the very grounds where he had clinched his second PGA Tour triumph. In a stellar display of skill and composure, the 21-year-old golf sensation clinched the title once more. Kim’s remarkable weekend performance, characterized by rounds of 62 and 66, enabled him to stave off competition from Adam Hadwin by a single stroke, thus solidifying his status as only the second player ever to achieve back-to-back victories at this event.
A Rising Star
This win marks the third jewel in the crown of Kim’s burgeoning PGA Tour career, and it’s a milestone he cherishes. Reflecting on his achievement, the young golfer remarked, “No. 3 sounds a lot better than No. 2, I’m not going to lie to you. I feel like after last year, coming off such a great run and then kind of not feeling exactly myself mid-year, it’s been a grind trying to figure it out.” Kim burst onto the scene late in the previous summer, claiming the Wyndham Championship and making a spectacular debut at the Presidents Cup. However, his journey was marked by challenges, especially in the early months of 2023, where he managed only three top-10 finishes.
It was in the latter half of the year that Kim began to regain his form, achieving top-10 results in prestigious events like the U.S. Open and the Open Championship. But the elusive victory remained just out of reach. That is, until he returned to Las Vegas, where destiny smiled upon him. “Obviously, it was my first full season, and [I was] trying to live up to the expectations of a great year last year,” Kim mused. “It’s been tough, but it’s been great sometimes, it’s been humbling. No. 3 is just so sweet.”
Defending His Title
Kim initiated the week with a pair of solid 68s, comfortably securing his spot in the cut. However, it was the third round that would ultimately define his path to victory. On that remarkable “Moving Day,” Kim displayed his prowess with an astonishing nine birdies and an eagle, carding an impressive 62. This score was tied for the lowest round of the entire tournament, propelling him into the final pairing for the decisive round.
Reflecting on his strategy, Kim noted, “That’s exactly what I did last year, and I kept my head down and tried to play my own golf and see what happened. It worked out last year, so tomorrow, I’ll have a game plan, stick to it, and see what happens.”
His approach proved to be a winning formula. While Kim couldn’t quite replicate the nine-birdie performance from the previous day, he managed to record seven birdies in the final round, concluding with a solid 66. His cumulative score of 20-under was just enough to stave off the competition, with Kim once again basking in the glory of victory.
This post originally appeared on Golf.com