Tom Kim falls to world No. 1 Scheffler in PGA Tour playoff

June 24, 2024

South Korean youngster Tom Kim has come up just short of his fourth career PGA Tour title, falling to world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler in a sudden death playoff.

Kim lost to Scheffler after making a bogey on the first playoff hole at the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut, on Sunday (local time).

Kim, whose Korean given name is Joo-hyung, landed his second shot in a greenside bunker after Scheffler put his on the green. With the ball buried in the sand, Kim sent his third shot 36 feet past the hole, and he two-putted from there for a bogey.

Scheffler, needing only to make par from 11 feet away, did just that for his sixth victory of the season. He became the first PGA Tour player since Arnold Palmer in 1962 to record six wins before July.

This was Kim’s first career PGA Tour playoff.

“I fought hard. I really did. I played really good this week. Unfortunately, the two bogeys I had this week came from two three-putts,” Kim said in a televised interview after the playoff. “I am not going to look back at this playoff and feel like I screwed up. I played really good. Just forced the playoff. I was digging deep. I wish I would’ve had a bit more of a chance on the 18th. A little wind switch. Hitting not a perfect shot hurts. I am taking this as a huge leap toward the season.”

Kim, 22, began the final round with a one-shot lead over Scheffler and another American player, Akshay Bhatia, at 18-under.

With Bhatia unable to make a move, Kim and the 28-year-old Scheffler, two close friends who both celebrated birthdays Friday, took their battle down the stretch. Scheffler held a one-stroke lead after a birdie on the par-four 14th, and matching birdies by the two players on the 15th kept Scheffler ahead.

Scheffler took his slim lead into the par-four 18th at 22-under but landed his second shot on the right fringe, while Kim nearly holed out for an eagle from 131 yards out.

Scheffler missed the putt from his spot, and Kim drained his 10-footer for a birdie that set up the playoff, as the two finished knotted at 22-under 258.

Play on the 18th hole was interrupted when six “Just Stop Oil” protesters stormed the 18th green and sprayed white and red powder. Tournament workers cleaned off stains on the green with leaf blowers, and the hole location was moved before the playoff.

Another South Korean player, Im Sung-jae, was also lurking at 16-under entering the final round and finished in a tie for third at 20-under.

The Travelers Championship was the last of eight “signature” events on the PGA Tour this season, featuring high-quality fields, bigger purses and higher world ranking points than regular tournaments.

Kim had only one top-10 finish in 18 tournaments prior to this runner-up performance.