May 15th, 2017
Youngest ever Players Championship winner
Si Woo Kim strides to victory
Words: Tim Southwell Photography: Getty Images
South Korean Si-woo Kim became the youngest ever winner of the Players Championship after a sublime final round 69 saw him over the line.
Ian Poulter threatened to gate crash the party and got to within two shots of the leader with a birdie at the 11th, but just couldn't convert birdie chances at the 16th and 17th. Poulter finished the round with a shank from the light rough and then a brilliant recovery shot for a bogey and a share of second place with Louis Oosthuizen
Kim, 21, finished at -10 and replaced Adam Scott as the youngest winner.
Kim won the Wyndham Championship last year, and becomes just the fourth player in the last 25 years to win twice on the PGA Tour before the age of 22, joining Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia and Jordan Spieth.
Poulter will have mixed emotions. He would have been desperate to get the biggest win of his career but mindful of the fact he thought he had lost his PGA Tour card just three weeks ago after falling to 197th in the world rankings. It was only when fellow tour pro Brian Gay alerted officials to a discrepancy in the points structure used for players competing on major medical extensions, that Poulter was given his reprieve.
What a difference three weeks makes. Yesterday's result moved him up to 80th in the world.
"From being in a position a couple of weeks ago where I wasn't here to finish tied second, it's a good week," Poulter told Sky Sports after his best finish since November 2014.
"It has been a tough 18 months. Today I felt like a couple of putts slid by, but I played well under pressure, barring that horrible second shot on the last. I've enjoyed it and hopefully this is just a stepping stone to pressing on for the rest of this year."
Spain's Cabrera Bello had us all out of our seats with his sensational albatross at the 16th. It is the first ever albatross in the tournaments' history and set up brilliant finish with a birdie at 17 and then a par-saving 35-foot putt at the last. Rafa suddenly found himself in fourth place.
Fellow Spaniard Sergio Garcia, however, who started the day with a real sniff of the title at -5, dropped six shots and made just one birdie to fall back to level par and two double bogeys and three birdies on the back nine saw him finish at +1.