Kim wins John Deere in record-breaking style

Michael Kim shot a final-round 66 on Sunday to win the John Deere Classic by a record-setting eight strokes.

Kim, who turned 25 on Saturday and has missed his last three cuts in a row, finished at 27-under to break Steve Stricker’s tournament record from 2010 by one shot and in the process secured a start at this week’s Open Championship.

Kim, who previously had just one top-10 finish in 84 career starts on the PGA Tour started the final day with a five stroke lead and never looked back enroute to his maiden tour win. Kim’s best finish before Sunday was a third at the Safeway Open two years ago.

Sunday’s victory was the breakthrough Kim was after since turning professional in December 2013. He was a member of the 2011 “Collegiate Group” that included Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Daniel Berger and Alexander Schauffele, who have launched their professional careers with majors, FedExCup wins, Presidents and Ryder Cup appearances and Rookie of the Year honours.

Michael Kim Michael Kim (Credit: PGA Tour)

“To be able to finish out in style like this, it means a lot,” said Kim, who nearly quadrupled his season earnings with a winner’s share of US$1.044 million.

“You can’t help but feel you’re getting left behind, but this win says a lot and even the last couple of weeks, I felt like my game was getting there. I just felt like I needed just a couple of good starts to the rounds.”

Kim also made 30 birdies for the week, a season high on the PGA Tour so far in 2018.

WITB: Michael Kim

Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Driver: Titleist TS2 (10.5º)
Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5º)
Hybrid: Titleist 816H1 (21º)
Irons: Titleist 716 T-MB (4-iron), 718 AP2 (5-PW)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 gap (52, 56, 60º)
Putter: Scotty Cameron GSS 350

A product of the University of California in April 2013, Kim was Pac-12 Men’s Golfer of the Month and recipient of the 2013 Jack Nicklaus Award.

He had limited status on the 2014 Tour after finishing T-56 at the Tour Qualifying Tournament.

Kim played on the Tour again in 2015 based on his finish in the Tour Finals. He finished 13th on the money list in the 2015 Tour, earning a full-time membership to the PGA Tour for 2016 where he has played since.

Whilst Kim secured Sunday’s win easily, it left Bronson Burgoon, Francesco Molinari, Joel Dahmen and Sam Ryder to battle for the runner-up spot where they all finished at 19-under-par.

Matt Jones was the best of the Australians finishing in a share of 12th position at 15-under-par to pocket US$117,450 and record his best finish of the season and his largest payday since his $119,866 at the 2017 Valero Texas Open (T13).

John Senden finished in a tie for 34th position at 11-under and earned his best finish of the season having made his fourth cut in six starts. Stuart Appleby was the last of the Aussies to make the weekend finishing in a tie for 50th.

Robert Allenby missed the cut for the third-consecutive time this season with a 4-over-par total. Steven Bowditch fired 3-over-par and has missed the cut in all six starts this season.

Aaron Baddeley and Cameron Percy also missed the weekend.