[PHOTO: Andy Lyons]
Seemingly chasing or tied with Hayden Buckley for much of the back nine, Si Woo Kim came up with a clutch iron shot from the fairway bunker at Waialae Country Club’s par-5 finishing hole, then converted a timely two-putt from 42 feet to conclude a final-round 64 for what proved to be the winning birdie at the Sony Open of Hawaii.
That birdie came after a final nine that provided plenty of twists. Buckley took the lead after holing birdie putts of 16 feet and 29 feet on the 12th and 14th hole, respectively. Then after a bogey at 15, Buckley took the lead again at the 16th after running in another 16-footer. Moments later, however, Kim answered with the pivotal shot of the tournament – a holed pitch shot with his Callaway Jaws raw 60-degree wedge – after his tee shot at the 182-metre, par-3 17th ran over the green, setting up the final-hole dramatics.
Kim’s irons are Callaway’s X-Forged CB, a cavity-back players iron, which he used to rank first in the field in strokes gained/approach-the-green, picking up more than eight shots on the field.
Kim also played well enough off the tee with a driver, 3-wood, 5-wood combination of Callaway’s new Paradym Triple Diamond metalwoods to rank first in strokes gained/tee-to-green as well. The driver features a carbon-composite body that is free of titanium and other metal support structures except for the newest version of Callaway’s flex-enhancing “Jailbreak” brace behind the face.
Although Kim seems like he has been on tour forever (he turned pro in 2012), the 2017 Players champion still is only 27 years old and now has four tour titles to his credit, even if the latest took some timely heroic shots to pull it off.
Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft X
Driver: Callaway Paradym Triple Diamond (Fujikura Ventus Black 6X), 8.5 degrees
3-wood: Callaway Paradym Triple Diamond, 15 degrees
5-wood: Callaway Paradym Triple Diamond, 18 degrees
Irons (3-PW): Callaway X-Forged CB
Wedges: Callaway Jaws Raw (54, 60 degrees)
Putter: Odyssey 2-Ball Ten Long