Si Woo Kim now has four PGA Tour wins, the most recent coming Sunday after he birdied the final two holes to wrest victory from Hayden Buckley.
Kim started the day three strokes off the lead and posted his second 64 of the weekend to top up the standings. Playing from a group ahead, he watched as Buckley failed to swing up and down the final hole for a birdie that would have forced a playoff.
The 27-year-old Korean, who lives in Dallas these days, claimed to be “a bit shaky” over the last four holes, but was also “trying to gain confidence and stay calm.”
Without a doubt, the coup of the week was the chip-in for birdie on the par-3 17th hole, which came moments after Buckley birdied the 16th.
“Right before that, I heard a noise and I knew it did it, so it was a little hard to be on the greens, so I had to hit aggressive,” Kim said. “So I hit him aggressive and went in. Yeah, it was exciting.”
From Sunday’s post-round press conference, here’s everything Si Woo Kim had to say after winning the 2023 Sony Open in Hawaii.
Q: Getting this win so early in the year, what does this do for the attitude going forward?
SWK: It’s like winning the first event for the first time, so I think it can’t get any better than this. So this is really exciting, and I look forward to many seasons to come. Hopefully trying to get more confident and then hopefully getting more wins.
Q: You start the day at 12 under par, three shots back. Shoot 64. How well did you play today?
SWK: It felt great and then, like the first three holes, I was on fire. … So I knew it was going to be like a chance to win, so I just tried to stay calm, and the calm was like a little less than nine holes, but I kept trying to calm down. It was a lucky chip on the 17th. I think that helps; 18 is more confident. He was very comfortable on the last hole.
Si Woo Kim poses with the trophy during the final round of the 2023 Sony Open in Hawaii at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, Hawaii. (Photo: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)
Q: Tell us about 17. I thought you drew a pretty good position on the back of the green.
SWK: No, it wasn’t that rough, but going onto the green has to be like going onto the green, so it was a bit tricky. But I knew it, he made a birdie. I heard the noise so I have to hit it aggressively. So I have nothing to lose, so I hit him aggressively.
Q: The bunker shot on the 18th from the fairway bunker was also a very good shot.
SWK: I was there like yesterday, almost ten yards over there, so I knew how to hit it and I knew how it felt like a bunker in there. So I think that makes me feel more comfortable, and then, yeah, I just make the big shot.
Q: How special was this? Is your wife here? She was here to give a big hug and a kiss. KH came out. Ben An. How special is this one?
SWK: I like all the Korean players, so we win a lot like in the last two years, so we help more by trying to motivate ourselves more. So I think that really helps all the Korean players to see each other. And then, yeah, my wife here, she feels like we’re on our honeymoon because we came here early last week. Yes, it was all comfortable.
The story originally appeared on GolfWeek