Tom Kim defends Las Vegas title for 3rd career PGA Tour win

October 16, 2023

South Korean youngster Tom Kim has successfully defended his title in Las Vegas for his third career PGA Tour victory.

Kim won the Shriners Children’s Open in Sin City for the second straight year Sunday (local time), shooting 20-under 264.

Kim started the day in a three-way tie atop the leaderboard at 15-under, following a blistering round of nine-under 62 at TPC Summerlin. Kim followed that up with a 66 on Sunday, with three birdies on the back nine allowing him to hold off Adam Hadwin of Canada by one stroke.

Kim, 21, is just the second South Korean player to win a PGA Tour event in back-to-back years, joining Lee Kyoung-hoon, the winner of the AT&T Byron Nelson in 2021 and 2022.

Kim’s victory meant a South Korean player has won this tournament for the third straight year, with Im Sung-jae having been the champion in 2021.

With three career titles, Kim, whose Korean given name is Joo-hyung, also moved into sole possession of third place on the all-time wins list among South Koreans, behind Choi Kyoung-ju (eight) and Kim Si-woo (four).

“It’s very sweet. I feel like the first two wins came at me really quick. It took a lot longer than my first two wins to get my third one. But it’s very sweet,” Kim said at his press conference.

Kim also said he was inspired by kids at Shriners Children’s hospital, the sponsor of the tournament.

“To repeat, it’s really cool, but I really think repeat was only possible because of the kids, because they inspired me so much at the start of the week,” Kim said. “I’m just really glad that I kept the trophy in my hands this year again.”

Kim opened Sunday with three birdies on the first four holes but then gave away two shots with bogeys on the fifth and sixth. At one point, a dozen players were within one shot of the lead.

Kim seized control with birdies on the 12th, 13th and again on 15th.

“I knew a lot of birdie opportunities were in the way. I knew I couldn’t win with one birdie, and I was right,” Kim said. “So I knew that once I birdied 12, that really helped me get momentum and made 13 a lot easier, 15 a lot easier, 16 a lot easier. I knew if I played these last five or six holes like the first or second round, I knew that I would have a pretty good chance.”