Tom Kim defends title in Las Vegas, wins Shriners Children’s Open
Tom Kim is a champion in Las Vegas once again.
A year after winning the Shriners Children’s Open, Kim returned to the site of his second PGA Tour victory and took the title yet again. With rounds of 62 and 66 over the weekend, the 21-year-old was able to hold off Adam Hadwin by a stroke to become just the second ever to win the event in back-to-back seasons.
The win is the 21-year-old’s third in his young PGA Tour career.
“No. 3 sounds a lot better than No. 2, I’m not going to lie to you,” Kim said. “I feel like after last year, coming off such a great run and then kind of not feeling exactly myself mid-year — it’s been a grind trying to figure it out.”
Kim burst onto the scene late last summer as he won the Wydham Championship and followed it up with an electric debut at the Presidents Cup. However, after a successful fall highlighted by winning at TPC Summerlin, he struggled to continue the momentum into 2023 as he registered just three top 10s in the first six months of the year.
He began to find his footing in the latter half of the year with top-10 finishes in the U.S. Open and Open Championship. But the next win still eluded him. In Las Vegas, that all changed.
“Obviously, it was my first full season and [I was] trying to live up to the expectations of a great year last year,” Kim said. “It’s been tough, but it’s been great sometimes, it’s been humbling. No. 3 is just so sweet.”
Kim opened the week with back-to-back rounds of 68 to comfortably make the cut, but it was the third round that defined his victory. In a remarkable Moving Day charge, Kim carded nine birdies and an eagle as he posted 62 — tied for the low round of the tournament — to play himself into the final pairing.
“That’s exactly what I did last year, and I kept my head down and tried to play my own golf and see what happened,” Kim said. “It worked out last year, so tomorrow, I’ll have a game plan, stick to it, and see what happens.”
The strategy proved to be a winning one.
Although Kim couldn’t replicate the nine-birdie performance from the previous day, he was able to post seven circles on the card en route to a final-round 66. The 20-under total was just enough to hold off Hadwin as Kim entered the winner’s circle yet again.