LAS VEGAS — Tom Kim now has something in common with Byron Nelson as the only players to have won the same PGA Tour event twice in the same season.
Kim successfully defended his title Sunday in the Shriners Children’s Open when he closed with a 5-under 66 to emerge from a pack of a dozen players who had a chance in the final hour. Kim wound up winning by one shot over runner-up Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C., who birdied the final hole for a 67.
Kim now has three PGA Tour titles in the last 15 months, at 21 the youngest player since Tiger Woods in 1997 to have three tour wins.
He won in Las Vegas a year ago, beating Patrick Cantlay in a playoff at the TPC Summerlin, when the Shiners Children’s Open was early in the season. Now, the Las Vegas event is still part of the same season because the PGA Tour goes to a calendar season starting in 2024.
Nelson won the San Francisco Open in January 1944, and the same tournament in December of 1994, both times at Harding Park.
This one was up for grabs until Kim seized control on the par-5 16th.
With an hour left in the tournament, there was a six-way tie for the lead and 12 players were separated by a single shot. The key stretch at the TPC Summerlin was holes No. 13 through No. 16, which ranked as four of the five easiest holes in the final round.
Taylor Pendrith of Richmond Hill, Ont., was tied for the lead with a birdie on the 13th, but had to settle for pars the rest of that stretch. He ended up T3 at -18.
Then, it became a two-man race between Kim and Hadwin, playing in the final group with Kim holding a one-shot advantage.
Both birdied the 13th, Hadwin with a 35-foot birdie putt that rimmed all the way around the cup before dropping. Both birdied the reachable par-4 15th, Kim with a tough up-and-down and birdie putt from 12 feet, Hadwin narrowly missing a 25-foot eagle attempt.
It turned on the par-5 16th. Kim hit to the fat of the green in two, 50 feet away for eagle. Hadwin knew he missed his shot right after contact and it came up well short and into the water. Hadwin missed a six-foot par putt after his penalty drop, and Kim three-putted — he had to make a five-footer on his third one — for par.
“I completely whiffed it, up and out of it, and unfortunately one of my worst swings of the day at the least opportune time,” Hadwin said.
“I feel like you dump it in the water there on 16, and I certainly by no means gave the tournament away, but I would have liked to have hit a more quality golf shot and put a little bit more pressure on Tom coming down the stretch.”
Nick Taylor of Abbotsford, B.C.finished T13 at -16, while Adam Svensson of Surrey, B.C., tied for 18th at -12.