Kim Si-woo takes narrow win at The American Express

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Kim Si-woo takes narrow win at The American Express

Kim Si-woo holds the winner's trophy at the end of The American Express tournament in La Quinta, California, on Sunday. [AP/YONHAP]

Kim Si-woo holds the winner's trophy at the end of The American Express tournament in La Quinta, California, on Sunday. [AP/YONHAP]

 
Kim Si-woo picked up his third PGA Tour title at The American Express tournament at Nicklaus Tournament Course in La Quinta, California, on Sunday.
 
Kim won the PGA Tour's The American Express by a single point, finishing the tournament with birdies on two of the final three holes to finish at eight-under-par, 64, in the final round, one shot ahead of Patrick Cantlay of the United States.
 
Kim was playing six groups behind Cantlay, so he spent a good part of his final round watching the scoreboard as Cantley shot 11-under-par, 61, for the round and moved up to first place.

 
"I had to know what's going on, so I knew how to play my game in the final round," Kim was quoted as saying on ESPN. "I knew Cantlay played really well. I tried to keep patient and believe in myself. I got the chance on 16 and 17, and that's when I could make it. I feel good about myself."
 
Kim started the final round in a three-way tie with Tony Finau and Max Homa, who are both from the United States.
 
Kim picked up birdies on par-3 fourth, par-5 fifth, par-4 seventh and par-5 eighth to briefly move into first place. Going into the back nine, Kim added birdies on the par-4 10th, par-5 11th and par-5 15th. 
 
Finally, Kim's 18-foot birdie putt on the par-3 17th won him the tournament, even with Cantlay warming up in preparation for a possible playoff round.
 
Kim Si-woo reacts after making a birdie putt on the 17th hole during the final round of The American Express tournament in La Quinta, California, on Sunday. [AP/YONHAP]

Kim Si-woo reacts after making a birdie putt on the 17th hole during the final round of The American Express tournament in La Quinta, California, on Sunday. [AP/YONHAP]

 
By round, Kim's strong start to the tournament is what won it for him in the end. Kim scored 66 in the first round, 68 in the second, 67 in the third and 64 in the final round. Cantlay, by contrast, got stronger as the tournament went on, scoring 69 in the first, 71 in the second, 65 in the third and 61 in the final round. 
 
Kim shot three bogey-free rounds en route to securing the win, finishing with a tournament total of 265, one stroke ahead of Cantlay at 266.
 
Kim's victory at The American Express was his third PGA title, coming more than three years after he became the youngest person ever to win The Players Championship back in 2017. Kim then went more than 100 tournaments without picking up another win.
 
Kim's only other PGA title was at the Wyndham Championship in 2016.
 
"Every year, I've had a chance, but I couldn't make it," Kim said. "I had a lot of resolve in my mind last night. I took melatonin, but still I didn't sleep very well."
 
Kim, at 25 years old, is one of only two players on the PGA Tour under the age of 26 with three titles.
 
With the victory in La Quinta, Kim took home $1,206,000 in prize money. Kim ranks 13th overall in the PGA Money Ranking, having won $1,700,075 over nine tournaments.
 
Cantlay took home $730,300 on Sunday, bringing his total prize pot to $2,744,385, and placing him in third. 
 
An Byeong-hun of Korea also made the top 10, finishing tied for eighth place with a total score at 14-under-par. This was An's best result since he finished third at the Wyndham Championship in 2019.
 
Korean golfer Im Sung-jae finished just outside of the top 10, coming in tied for 12th place with a total score of 13-under-par. Im has gone from strength-to-strength in recent tournaments, finishing tied for fifth at the Sentry Tournament of Champions two weeks ago and tied for second at the Masters Tournament in November last year.
 
The PGA Tour will return this weekend at the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego.
 
BY JIM BULLEY   [jim.bulley@joongang.co.kr] 
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