For the second day in a row, a Korean golfer took all the drama out of the final round of a tournament. A day after Inbee Park left the field in Rio in her dust on the way to an Olympic Gold Medal, Si Woo Kim opened up a six-stroke lead at the Wyndham Championship and never looked back.
The 21-year-old Kim shot a four-under 67 to take first place, becoming the youngest to win on tour since Jordan Spieth two years ago at the John Deere Classic. Kim’s closest competitor, Luke Donald, shot a three-under 67 and finished five back.
1 Si Woo Kim -21
2 Luke Donald -16
T3 Hideki Matsuyama, Brandt Snedeker -15
T5 Brett Stegmaier, Johnson Wagner, Billy Horschel, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Grame McDowell -14
T10 Kevin Kisner, Jim Furyk, Bud Cauley, Kevin Na -13
T22 Jason Dufner, Bill Haas, Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed -10
T42 Shane Lowry -8
T46 Harris English, Chris Kirk -7
T53 Ryan Moore -6
T72 Webb Simpson -1
How Kim Won
Nobody came close to Kim today. He started the day with a four-stroke lead, once extending it to six and nobody getting closer than three. Kim played the front nine in four-under 31, and then bogeyed three of his first on the back nine before a birdie on the par-5 15th righted the ship.
A one-hour weather delay when the lead group had just two holes to go sort of disrupted the momentum of Kim’s coronation, but he went par-birdie over his last two holes, never looking like he was losing control.
What This Win Means For Kim
This is Si Woo Kim’s first career victory. Along with all the awarded exemptions, Kim moved from 43rd to 15th in the final FedEx Cup standings before the playoffs. With the move, he is virtually guaranteed to make it to at least the BMW Championship (the third round).
Kim will also make a considerable jump in the world rankings, where he is currently 115th. At -21, Kim tied Carl Petterssen (2009) for the lowest total at this event.
Final FedEx Cup Positioning
The Wyndham is the last tournament of the regular season. The top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings will tee it up at The Barclay’s next week, the first round of the playoffs. Last year, five players who were not in the top 125 to start the final week moved into the playoffs. This year, only two golfers played themselves in.
Shawn Stefani, #133 to begin the week, shot three 66’s over four days and moved up to #123. The other player was Kyle Stanley, whose T14 jumped him from 127th to 116th. With Stefani and Stanley moving in, the two players moving out were Matt Jones (124th to 126th) and Whee Kim (125th to 127th). Both Jones and Kim missed the Wyndham cut. Chris Stroud and Tim Wilkinson had a chance to move in by going low on Sunday, but didn’t do quite enough.
Luke Donald’s place in the playoffs was secured before the week (he was 99th), but with a solo second-place finish, he moved all the way up to 48th, significantly improving his chances of a deep playoff run.
Ryder Cup Hopefuls
The FedEx Cup playoffs were not the only thing players were positioning for this week. A number of players on the Ryder Cup bubble were also hoping to make some noise, with the top 8 in Ryder Cup points qualifying automatically, and the last four positions being decided by captain Davis Love III, who was on hand watching, but not competing this week. Among those who have not clinched, Brandt Snedeker (currently 9th) played best, tying for third. Jim Furyk (currently 18th) also played well finishing in a tie for 10th.
Rickie Fowler, who was not originally scheduled to play this week, finished T22. Fowler currently ranks 12th. Patrick Reed (currently 8th) and Bill Haas (currently 14th), finished with Fowler in that tie for 22nd, while Scott Piercy (currently 13th) made the cut, but did not do anything to improve his standing, finishing in 63rd place. J.B. Holmes (currently 7th) continued his recent tailspin, missing his third consecutive cut.
“Just thinking, start of the day, today I have a lot of pressure but I’m just trying to practice, and then front nine, everything good, back nine a little pressure, but good finish.”
–Si Woo Kim, 2016 Wyndham Championship Winner