Michael Kim Wins Maiden Tour Title at John Deere Classic

Michael Kim Wins 2018 John Deere Classic
Michael Kim engages fans after making a putt on the 16th hole during the final round of the 2018 John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois. Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Michael Kim fired a flawless final-round 66 at TPC Deere Run to claim his maiden PGA Tour victory at the 2018 John Deere Classic.

Michael Kim Wins 2018 John Deere Classic
Michael Kim engages fans after making a putt on the 16th hole during the final round of the 2018 John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois. Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Kim, who entered the day holding a five shot advantage, reeled off three-straight birdies out of the gate to end any talk of a Sunday collapse for the then world No. 473.

The 24-year old California native added a fourth birdie on No. 8 to turn in 31, and then cruised home with one more gain to reach 27-under par, eight shots clear of the field.

“You know, the front nine I told myself, You got to make birdies. You got to be aggressive. You can’t just make pars because these guys can make birdies on every hole,” said Kim.

“I told myself I wouldn’t look at the leaderboard until at least the 12th or 13th hole, but on the 9th hole I just accidentally kind of took a peek. I think I had an eight- or nine-shot lead at that point.

“From that point on I just ended up playing a little tentative; you know, just had a few tricky par putts. Just was able to make those and keep the momentum going.”

Michael Kim Wins John Deere Classic
Michael Kim holds a flag after earning an invite to Carnoustie for the 147th Open Championship by winning the 2018 John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois. Credit: Michael Cohen/R&A/R&A via Getty Images

The win was worth a trip to the Open Championship for Kim, along with $1,044,000 and 500 FedExCup points. He also picked up 24 Official Golf World Golf Ranking points to move to No. 215.

World No. 15 Francesco Molinari shot a final-day 64 to finish T2 at 19-under par, alongside Joel Dahmen (65), Sam Ryder (66), and Bronson Burgoon (69).

One further back was Harold Varner III who carded a 68 to finish alone in sixth at 18 under. It was Varner’s second-straight top-10 finish (T5 Greenbrier).


2018 JOHN DEERE CLASSIC


FINAL TOP 10

POS-PLAYER-SCORE (TODAY)
1. Michael Kim -27 (-5)
2. Francesco Molinari -19 (-7)
2. Bronson Burgoon -19 (-2)
2. Joel Dahmen -19 (-6)
2. Sam Ryder -19 (-5)
6. Harold Varner, III -18 (-3)
7. Andres Romero -16 (-2)
7. John Huh -16 (-5)
7. Chad Campbell -16 (-5)
7. Keith Mitchell -16 (-4)
7. Kevin Streelman -16 (-6)

NOTABLES

POS-PLAYER-SCORE (TODAY)
16. Zach Johnson -14 (-7)
23. Joaquin Niemann -13 (-6)
30. Patton Kizzire -12 (-4
34. Austin Cook -11 (-2)
43. Steve Stricker -10 (-4)
43. Steve Stricker -10 (-4)
55. Andrew Landry -8 (-1)
55. Ryan Moore -8 (-4)
60. Sam Saunders -7 (E)


TOP-5 CASHERS

1. $1,044,000 (Kim)
2. $382,800 (Molinari)
2. $382,800 (Dahmen)
2. $382,800 (Ryder)
2. $382,800 (Burgoon)


JOHN DEERE CLASSIC: FINAL-ROUND HIGHLIGHTS


EARLY-ROUND POSITIONING

Kim opened with a sizzling 63 to sit solo second, and matched it the second round to secure the pole position, which he’d never relinquish.

ROUND ONE
1. Steve Wheatcroft -9
2. Michael Kim -8
3. Johnson Wagner -7
3. Nick Taylor -7
3. Andres Romero -7
3. Joel Dahmen -7

ROUND TWO
1. Michael Kim -16 (-8)
2. Steve Wheatcroft -12 (-3)
2. Johnson Wagner -12 (-5)
2. David Hearn -12 (-7)

ROUND THREE
1. Michael Kim -22 (-7)
2. Bronson Burgoon -17 (-5)
3. Matt Jones -16 (-5)


HOW MICHAEL KIM SCORED THE WIN

Driving: 294.8 yards (27th)
Fairways: 46/56, 82.1% (2nd)
Greens: 60/72, 83.3% (3rd)
Par-3 Scoring: -3 (4 Birdies, 11 Pars, 1 Bogey)
Par-4 Scoring: -18 (20 Birdies, 22 Pars, 2 Bogeys)
Par-4 Scoring: -6 (6 Birdies, 6 Pars)
Total Scoring: -27 (30 Birdies, 39 Pars, 3 Bogeys)


EXIT QUESTIONS FOR MICHAEL KIM

Michael Kim John Deere Classic
Michael Kim poses with the trophy after winning the 2018 John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois. Credit: Quinn Harris/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

1. The floodgates opened for you this week. I know the results haven’t been there since you got out here on the PGA TOUR. Can you even put into perspective how it all came together this week to have a record-setting performance like this?

MICHAEL KIM: I don’t know. I wish I had the answer. I don’t know. I’ve been working hard at it. You know, the season has been up and down, to say the least. A lot of down, especially leading up to this event. To be able to hit a high like this is pretty special.

2. I feel like this has to be what you hope is the first of many, to finally get in the winners’ circle. I know you’re only; another member of that class. You’ve seen some of your buddies win. I know this has to be really sweet for you.

MICHAEL KIM: Yeah. I mean, this is the longest 18 holes of my life, tell you. You know, I hope that walk up 18 was not my last, and what an incredible feeling that was walking up 18 knowing I had it in the bag.

It’s going to make me hungry and work harder. Hopefully get a few more.


Credit: Getty Images, PGA TOUR Media, Fastscripts


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