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Kim’s late birdie blast seals Sony Open victory

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South Korea’s Kim Si-woo had a stunning finish and a one-shot victory at the Sony Open PGA Tour in Hawaii on Sunday.

The 27-year-old from Seoul claimed his fourth career PGA Tour title — and first in two years — after scoring a six-under-64 at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu for the second time in a row.

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In the final final round, Kim passed third round leader Hayden Buckley, who was chasing his first tour title.

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In the seesaw final, Kim and Buckley leveled each other, shot after shot, with little choice between the two players, with playoff opportunities looming.

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Buckley looked poised for the win after hitting a birdie on the 16th that moved him 17 under to take a one-punch lead.

But Kim, playing up front in the group, hit back moments later, regaining a share of the lead with a brilliant 27-foot shot.

The Korean was in no mood to give up the initiative and used another magical moment on 18th par-5 to single-handedly seize the advantage on 18th under.

Finding a fairway bunker with his tee shot, Kim threw a magnificent sand iron onto the green to give himself a long heads chance.

He landed a perfectly weighted putt, narrowly missing the birdie spot.

This increased the pressure on Buckley, who could only fend off a 17th-place finish, meaning he needed to score last to qualify for the playoffs.

Buckley, who hit the same hole on Saturday, got into trouble on the tee, finding a right rough on the fairway and then his second ball missed the green.

His chip rolled 12 feet past the hole, leaving him with a clumsy birdie that he duly missed to finish with a two-under par of 68, leaving him 17 under for a 72-hole total of 263.

Kim, who started day three off pace, said patience was the key to his round.

“I tried my best on every shot, trying to gain confidence and stay calm,” said Kim, who admitted to hearing a roar from the gallery after Buckley took a 16 lead with his birdie.

“I heard a noise. I knew I had to hit him aggressively – there was nothing to lose, so I just hit him and he went in, ”Kim said of his chip.

Chris Kirk finished in third place, three under-15s behind the leader after closing 68, while three players – Andrew Putnam, David Lipsky and England’s Ben Taylor – were tied for fourth under-14s.

Australian Aaron Baddeley and Canadian Nick Taylor were in a group of five players tied for seventh in the U13s.



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