By Sam McPherson
In the final PGA Tour event of the season before the FedExCup playoffs, South Korean golfer Si Woo Kim shot 21-under par at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, North Carolina to capture the Wyndham Championship and its $1 million first-place prize. England’s Luke Donald finished second, five shots back, as most of professional golf’s big stars took the week off between the Rio Olympics and the start of the FedExCup Playoffs this Thursday.
Just 21 years old, Kim fueled his victory with a stunning round of 60 on Friday, and followed that up by shooting 64 on Saturday. His Sunday 67 almost felt like a formality as the young golfer’s first PGA Tour victory became more and more a certainty. Donald also shot a 67 on Sunday without really threatening much, as did Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama and America’s Brandt Snedeker, who tied for third at 15-under.
In the end, no one could match Kim’s stellar second round during the entire tournament. And he can thank his putter for the victory: Kim finished second in the tournament with a 1.633 putts-per-hole average. That contributed to his four rounds scoring 68 or better — a feat only a few others accomplished at the accessible Sedgefield course.
Snedeker — who also shot 68 or better in each round — actually led the field in putting with a 1.623 putts-per-hole average. Matsuyama relied on his ability to hit greens in regulation: He tied for fifth in that category, nailing 84.72 percent of the greens within the allotted stroke count. Both Donald and Matsuyama also carded 68 or better for all four rounds.
Kim didn’t need the win to get into the FedExCup event next week — he was 43rd in points even before the win. Now, however, the 21-year-old Tour winner certainly will be a golfer to watch, both in this year’s playoff tournaments and next year’s full Tour schedule. Kim’s victory means two more years, at least, on Tour.
Next On The Tee: The Barclays
After a long PGA Tour season stretching back to October 15, 2015 and the Frys.com Open in Napa, California, the FedExCup playoffs have finally arrived. The top 125 golfers on the Tour, based on points accrued from finishes during the season, will compete at The Barclays, held this year at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, New York. The winner will take home $1.53 million, and the top 100 finishers will advance to the next round.
Jason Day, the world’s top-ranked golfer, won this event last year, along with its $1.485 million winner’s purse. Day would go on to capture the fourth and final FedExCup event as well and win the 2015 FedExCup championship. The field for this year’s event includes three of the 2016 major winners — U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson, Open Championship winner Henrik Stenson and PGA Championship victor Jimmy Walker. In addition, 2016 Olympic gold medalist Justin Rose also qualified for the FedExCup playoffs. However, 2016 Masters champion Danny Willett is not a full-time member of the PGA Tour and will not be a part of the playoffs this season.
Bethpage Black is one of the final courses designed by A.W. Tillinghast. It hosted both the 2002 and 2009 U.S. Open championship events, won by Tiger Woods and Lucas Glover, respectively. Glover is in the field this week for the FedExCup playoffs, although Woods remains sidelined with myriad injuries. Bethpage Black is a public course, the first of its kind to host the U.S. Open.
The Bethpage Black course plays 7,468 yards long and is a par 71.
Favorites: Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth
Players to Watch: Matt Kuchar, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose
Sam McPherson is a freelance writer covering baseball, football, basketball, golf and fantasy sports for CBS Local. He also is an Ironman triathlete and certified triathlon coach. Follow him on Twitter @sxmcp, because he’s quite prolific despite also being a college English professor and a certified copy editor.