LA QUINTA, Calif. — Si Woo Kim left the Coachella Valley a year ago with his back aching again and his golf game in disarray.
This past week, the 25-year-old South Korean returned healthy and with rock-solid mentality that didn't even waver when Patrick Cantlay threatened to run away with The American Express.
Kim birdied two of the final three holes to finish an 8-under-par 64 Sunday, coolly rallying past the late-charging Cantlay by one shot to earn his third PGA Tour victory.
A year after Kim shot a 15-over 87 in the first round and quickly withdrew from this event because of his persistent back problems, he began the final round with a share of the lead atop a crowded board. He endured a restless night as he prepared to chase his first win since The Players Championship in 2017, a string of 102 straight starts without a victory.
Kim acknowledged he watched the leaderboard while he played. Six groups ahead of him, Cantlay shot a 61 and surged out of 13th place to the front while breaking the PGA West Stadium Course record by two strokes.
"I knew Cantlay played really well," Kim said through a translator. "I tried to keep patient and believe in myself. I got the chance on 16 and 17, and that's when I could make it."
Cantlay's surge still only gave him a one-stroke advantage, and Kim comfortably birdied the par-5 16th to pull even. Kim then buried a 19-foot birdie putt on the island green on the 17th to move back in front, joyously pumping his fist when his perfectly paced putt dropped.
Kim wrapped up his third bogey-free round of the tournament with a two-putt par on the 18th to finish at 23-under 265, and he joined Collin Morikawa as the only PGA Tour players younger than 26 with three career wins.
Australia's Cameron Davis (64) finished a career-best third at 20 under, and Tony Finau (68) took fourth after starting the final round with a share of the lead in his quest to land his long-awaited second PGA Tour win.
Baylor School graduate Luke List (72) tied for 21st at 11 under.
Ryder Cup boost
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Tyrrell Hatton finished with a sparkling 6-under 66 to earn a four-stroke win at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, with the 29-year-old Englishman stepping up as 54-hole leader Rory McIlroy faded with an uninspired 72 to drop into third at the European Tour's season opener.
Hatton, whose 72-hole total was 18-under 270, now has six titles on the tour, and the latest provided a big boost as he tries to secure a second Ryder Cup appearance. The Europeans are set to visit Whistling Straits in Haven, Wisconsin, this September, with the biennial event against the United States pushed back a year by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hatton was ninth in the most recent Official World Golf Ranking.
Australia's Jason Scrivener recorded an eagle and five birdies in a back-nine 29 to close out a 66 and finish second at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. Sixth-ranked McIlroy, after another disappointing final round for the 31-year-old four-time major champion from Northern Ireland, was another shot back.
McIlroy held a one-shot advantage entering Sunday and doubled his lead thanks to birdies on the second and third holes, but he three-putted the fourth and also dropped a shot on the par-five eighth after a poor drive. Playing partner Hatton matched McIlroy's birdie on the second and also picked up shots on the seventh and ninth to reach the turn with a two-shot lead.
A dropped stroke on the 11th dropped McIlroy further off the pace, and Hatton made certain of victory with birdies on the 13th and 16th.
"I'm thrilled, to be honest," said Hatton, whose most recent win was just three months earlier at the BMW PGA Championship. "Even knocking the putt in on 18, it doesn't seem like I've won the tournament. Obviously it's amazing. I've always loved starting my season here in Abu Dhabi, and to now add my name on that trophy with so many great champions before me is a huge honour."
McIlroy now has four second-place finishes, four thirds and a fifth in his past 10 starts in Abu Dhabi, and his overall winless drought stretches to November 2019.
Jessica Korda rallies
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — For Jessica Korda, the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions was all about her ability to just hang in there.
Trailing by three shots headed to the back nine at Four Seasons Golf and Sports Club Orlando on Sunday, she first caught Danielle Kang with a late four-birdie burst to shoot 5-under 66, then won with a curling 30-footer for birdie on the first playoff hole.
Kang closed with a 68. The leader after each of the first three rounds, she had a chance to extend the playoff, but she missed her 18-foot birdie putt on the low side at the 185-yard 18th.
It was the sixth LPGA Tour victory for the 27-year-old Korda, with the fifth coming nearly three years ago.
"I knew I was going to have to go low today," said Korda, who on Saturday became the fifth player in LPGA history to shoot 60, a shot off Annika Sorenstam's record. "It was a crazy day A crazy two days. A crazy week!"
She and Kang finished at 24-under 260 to eclipse the tournament's 72-hole record by 10 shots. Korda, ranked 23rd in the world among women, also had to turn back her younger sister, 22-year-old Nelly who at No. 4 in the world was the top player in the elite winners-only field for the season opener. Nelly started her final round six shots back and shot a 64 that left her two shots out of the playoff.