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Si Woo Kim surges late to beat Patrick Cantlay for American Express title

Si Woo Kim hits from the rough on the fifth hole during the final round of The American Express tournament.
Si Woo Kim hits from the rough on the fifth hole during the final round of The American Express tournament at La Quinta Country Club on Sunday.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

Si Woo Kim birdied two of the final three holes to finish a rock-solid, eight-under 64, coolly rallying past late-charging Patrick Cantlay by one shot to win The American Express on Sunday for his third PGA Tour victory.

A year after Kim withdrew from the desert tournament because of a back injury following an awful first round, he began the final round with a share of the lead as he attempted to win for the first time since the 2017 Players Championship.

The 25-year-old South Korean didn’t flinch when Cantlay shot a 61 and surged out of 13th place to the front while breaking the Stadium Course record at La Quinta Country Club by two strokes.

Playing six groups behind Cantlay, Kim comfortably birdied the par-five 16th to pull even. Kim then buried a 19-foot birdie putt on the island green on the 17th to take the lead, joyously pumping his fist when his perfectly-paced putt dropped.

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Kim wrapped up his third bogey-free round of the tournament — all on the Pete Dye-designed Stadium Course — with a two-putt par on the 18th to finish at 23-under 265.

Kim had a much better time than he did last year in his return to the Palm Springs-area tournament long hosted by Bob Hope. A year ago, Kim shot a 15-over 87 in the opening round on the easier neighboring Nicklaus Course before withdrawing.

Si Woo Kim putts on the first hole as Max Homa, foreground, watches during the final round.
Si Woo Kim putts on the first hole as Max Homa, foreground, watches during the final round of The American Express tournament on Sunday.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

Australia’s Cameron Davis shot a 64 to finish in a career-best third at 20-under. Tony Finau had a 68 and finished fourth after starting the final round with a share of the lead in his quest to land his long-awaited second PGA Tour win.

Cantlay was in 56th place when the third round began, but the Southern California native’s 65-61 finish shot him out of the crowded field and nearly led to his second victory of the 2020-21 season. He also won the Zozo Championship in Thousand Oaks last October when it was relocated from Japan.

The 28-year-old Cantlay made 11 birdies in the final round, including six in eight holes on the front nine. Cantlay capped his spectacular round with a 37-foot birdie putt on the 18th, pumping his fist subtly for the few fans clapping from their houses near the green.

LPGA Tour

Jessica Korda closed with a five-under 66 and holed a 30-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole to beat Danielle Kang in the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions and start the LPGA Tour season on a good note in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Korda won for the sixth time on the LPGA Tour, and it was her first victory in nearly three years. She shot a career-best 60 on Saturday.

Kang started the final round at Four Seasons Golf and Sports Club Orlando with a two-shot lead, which she quickly stretched to four shots with an opening birdie and Korda dropping a shot on the third hole. That was Korda’s last mistake.

Kang had a two-shot lead with four holes to play when she made her first bogey of the tournament — and her first bogey in 65 holes dating to last season — on the 15th. Korda caught her with a birdie on the 16th.

Nelly Korda, the younger sister of Jessica who joined them in the final group, got within two shots of the lead. She closed with a 64 and finished two shots out of the playoff.

Kang, who shot 68, had to make a four-foot par putt on the par-three 18th to force a playoff at 24-under 260.

European Tour

Tyrrell Hatton won the European Tour’s season-opening Abu Dhabi Championship by four strokes after overnight leader Rory McIlroy faded.

Hatton shot a six-under 66 to finish at 18-under 270 at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. The Englishman won his sixth tour title.

Australia’s Jason Scrivener closed with a 66 to finish second. He had an eagle and five birdies in a back-nine 29.

McIlroy was third at 13-under after a 72.


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