Michael Kim will head to The Open Championship for the very first time as he claimed his maiden PGA Tour win in emphatic fashion by lapping the field at the John Deere Classic.
Michael Kim will head to The Open Championship for the very first time as he claimed his maiden PGA Tour win in emphatic fashion by lapping the field at the John Deere Classic. The Korean-born American started the final round at TPC Deere Run with a five-shot lead having posted rounds of 63-64-64, and he showed no signs of nerves as he opened with three straight birdies to extend his lead at the top. It was then just a case of minimising the mistakes, and he did that to perfection with a further two birdies at the 8th and 16th to go bogey-free and win by a remarkable eight shots.
It’s fair to say that not many people could have seen this victory coming. Heading into this week, Kim – the former Walker Cup player – has missed 11 of 17 cuts this year, with a best finish of 18th last month at the FedEx St Jude Classic. But perhaps the 25-year-old is just starting to live up to his potential; after all, he won the prestigious Haskins Award in 2013 and joins the likes of Justin Thomas, Russell Henley and Patrick Cantlay who have, in recent years, won on the PGA Tour having been presented with the Haskins Award. Elsewhere, Francesco Molinari – fresh off his win at the Quicken Loans National – continued his fine run of form as the Italian posted a final round 64 to finish tied for second alongside Joel Dahmen, Sam Ryder and Bronson Burgoon.
So Kim is on his way to The Open after taking the one spot available this week – but how have John Deere Classic winners fared in the third major of the year in recent years? In the past ten years, only Jordan Spieth (2015) and Zach Johnson (2012) have won at the John Deere and gone on to finish inside the top-10 at The Open the following week. In that 10-year stretch, only Bryson DeChambeau (last year) missed the cut. So how does this bode for Kim? Well, if the trends are to continue, expect him to make the cut but not trouble the top of the leaderboard…
Kim: It’s been a tough first half of the year. To finish it off like this means a lot. I didn’t even know they (family) were here. I teared up a little bit on the green.