Michael Kim of the USA finished on a record-breaking four-round total of 27-under-par to win the John Deere Classic by eight shots and earn a start in The Open at Carnoustie.
Michael Kim wins John Deere Classic and earns Open start
Michael Kim fired a closing round of 66 to cruise to victory in the John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run in Illinois and earn a place in The Open Championship. The 25-year-old finished eight clear of Bronson Burgoon, Joel Dahmen, Sam Ryder and Francesco Molinari.
Kim had missed five of his last six cuts heading into this event but he closed out his first PGA Tour victory in some style at TPC Deere Run.
The 25-year-old took a five-shot lead into Sunday and when he birdied his first three holes to take a seven-stroke advantage, the tournament was effectively over.
Kim held his nerve into the back nine and made another crucial birdie on the 16th hole. It took him beyond Steve Stricker’s tournament scoring record.
In 84 previous PGA Tour starts, Kim had only once finished in the top-10. Now he is a Tour winner and he will play in The Open at Carnoustie this week.
“To be able to finish out in style like this, it means a lot,” Kim said. “To be sitting here with a trophy, I’m at a loss for words. 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.”
Italy’s Francesco Molinari was one of the players who tied for a distant second place in the event. He has been enjoying a superb season, following victory in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth with a win on the PGA Tour in the Quicken Loans National. He closed with 64 at TPC Deere Run to claim a tie for second and to move into the top-30 on the FedEx Cup standings.
“I’m in a much stronger position now heading into the summer, and then The Playoffs, and so I need to keep it going,” he said. “Obviously, I would really like to make it to the TOUR Championship. I missed it by, I think, one shot last year, so I will do my best to be there in Atlanta.”
John Deere Classic
TPC Deere Run, Silvis, Illinois
Purse: $5,800,000 Par: 71
1 Michael Kim (USA) 63 64 64 66 257 $1,044,000
T2 Bronson Burgoon (USA) 68 62 66 69 265 $382,800
T2 Joel Dahmen (USA) 64 71 65 65 265 $382,800
T2 Francesco Molinari (Ita) 65 66 70 64 265 $382,800
T2 Sam Ryder (USA) 66 66 67 66 265 $382,800
6 Harold Varner III (USA) 67 65 66 68 266 $208,800
T7 Chad Campbell (USA) 66 70 66 66 268 $168,780
T7 John Huh (USA) 70 63 69 66 268 $168,780
T7 Keith Mitchell (USA) 67 68 66 67 268 $168,780
T7 Andres Romero (Arg) 64 71 64 69 268 $168,780
T7 Kevin Streelman (USA) 66 71 66 65 268 $168,780
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage