Kim completes inevitable win at Wachovia
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2008 Wachovia Championship | Round Four | 05 May 2008
Nearly 20 months after playing in his first ever PGA Tour event, Anthony Kim has won his first PGA Tour title and according to most golfing pundits, this week’s stunning performance will be the opening of the floodgates for the 22-year-old. Today Kim won the Wachovia Championship by five shots over Curtis ensuring that his first victory would be on one of the most demanding layouts on tour and a layout that further emphasised the quality of player that Kim is.
In that very first event back in September of 2006, Kim had been invited by the sponsors of the Valero Texas Open and returned the favour by finishing runner up to Eric Axley. Kim was one of the game’s leading amateur golfers with Walker Cup success and numerous other amateur titles and awards and success at the higher level was then almost assured.
Just a few weeks later, Kim had his PGA Tour card via the Tour School and he consolidated his position in 2007 by earning US$1.5 million and importantly, in the context of what happened this week, he finished 5th at this same event.
Kim has already shown in 2008 that his first win was not too far away with good weeks at the Bob Hope and Verizon tournaments where he finished third and runner up respectively. A solid week last week in his hometown of Dallas had him arriving in Charlotte in great form and while it may have been a little much to expect him to win an event of this nature, so early in his career, he made a fast start on Thursday and remained in touch throughout.
Kim’s third round of 66 yesterday was brilliant and gave him the four shot lead over Heath Slocum and Jason Bohn that he enjoyed heading into the final day. Kim needed only a good solid start to his round to consolidate his position on this tough and demanding golf course but he not only achieved that, he extended his lead as he reached the turn in 32 and was five ahead of Ben Curtis.
Curtis, the 2003 Open Champion, had made a great bid himself on the final day. He started his day 9 shots behind Kim but birdies on each of the first four holes gave him some hope of challenging the leading players. Curtis bogeyed the 7th but birdied the 8th and then eagled the 10th to move to 10 under and although a long way behind Kim, his chances of a top three finish looked very good.
Curtis has struggled for much of the past eighteen months on Tour but he looked a different player this week as despite a stumble at the 13th he added birdies at the 14th and 15th, signed for a 65 and at 11 under par waited the 80 minutes or so for the final pair of Kim and Heath Slocum to finish.
Kim struggled over his closing holes but those mistakes may well have flattered the chasers as he still managed to win by five over Curtis despite three bogies in his last six holes.
Jason Bohn, like Kim, followed up a very good week at the Verizon event where he finished 6th with a very good tournament and now appears well and truly recovered from the injuries he suffered in 2007. Bohn finished alone in third while Robert Allenby headed a strong Australian challenge to finish 4th after a final round of 66, bettered only by Curtis’ 65. Allenby has played well in 2008 missing only one cut in 13 starts without really threatening to win. His level of consistency however may soon be rewarded with his first PGA Tour victory in seven years.
Rod Pampling and Adam Scott finished in a share of 8th with Pampling reversing an ordinary run of form, while for Scott it was an impressive back up from his win in Dallas.
Matthew Goggin finish the event well with a final round of 68 for 17th, Geoff Oglivy struggled on day four for 22nd, John Senden was 25th, Aaron Baddeley and Nick O’Hern were 40th, Nathan Green 62nd, Nick Flanagan 70th and Stephen Leaney 73rd.
The PGA Tour now heads to Ponte Vedra Beach in Florida for this week’s Players Championship.