Players Championship: Kim Si-woo holds off Ian Poulter to become youngest winner

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Highlights: Kim wins Players Championship
Players Championship final-round leaderboard
-10 Kim (Kor); -7 Poulter (Eng), Oosthuizen (SA); -6 Cabrera Bello (Spn), Stanley (US) -5 Steele (US), Glover (US), Scott (Aus), F Molinari (Ita)
Selected: -2 D Johnson (US) Level Casey (Eng); +1 Garcia (Spn) +2 McIlroy (NI); +7 Day (Aus) +8 Rose (Eng)
Full leaderboard

South Korean Kim Si-woo produced a faultless round to become the youngest champion at the Players Championship.

Kim, 21, shot a three-under-par 69 on the final day at Sawgrass to finish on 10 under and replace Adam Scott as the youngest winner.

England's Ian Poulter was tied for the lead at one stage but finished three shots behind in a tie for second with Louis Oosthuizen after a 71.

Rafa Cabrera Bello and Kyle Stanley finished tied for fourth on six under.

After his victory in the Wyndham Championship last year, Kim is the fourth player in the last 25 years to win twice on the PGA Tour before the age of 22, following in the footsteps of Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia and Jordan Spieth.

Composed Kim frustrates Poulter

Ian Poulter (right) with playing partner Emiliano Grillo
Poulter tried his best but was unable to catch Kim

Kim started the final round two shots behind overnight leaders JB Holmes and Stanley while Poulter, chasing a first victory since 2012 and a maiden strokeplay success in the United States, was three behind.

But with Holmes and Stanley failing to sustain their challenges in blustery conditions, Kim and Poulter both knocked in early birdies to share the lead.

Birdies on the seventh and ninth made the South Korean the first player to reach 10 under par this week and gave him a two-shot lead.

Poulter reduced the deficit to one but then, having gone 39 consecutive holes without a bogey, dropped a shot on the 12th.

The 41-year-old tried to put Kim under pressure but the putts would not drop and the leader remained agonisingly out of touch.

Kim saved par from tricky positions on both the 10th and 11th and safely negotiated the challenge of the water at the 17th with a bold tee shot and two composed putts.

After Poulter dropped a shot on the 18th, Kim went on to secure the biggest win of his fledging career with another par.

Plenty to please Poulter

It has still been a remarkable week for Poulter, who three weeks ago thought he had lost his PGA Tour card after falling to 197th in the world rankings.

That was until fellow professional Brian Gay alerted officials to a discrepancy in the points structure used for players competing on major medical extensions.

The former world number five, who only played 13 tournaments in 2016 because of a foot injury, made the most of his reprieve and will climb back into the top 100 in the new rankings.

"From being in a position a couple of weeks ago where I wasn't here to finish tied second, it's a good week," Poulter told Sky Sports after his best finish since November 2014.

"It has been a tough 18 months. Today I felt like a couple of putts slid by, but I played well under pressure, barring that horrible second shot on the last.

"I've enjoyed it and hopefully this is just a stepping stone to pressing on for the rest of this year."

Ian Poulter
Poulter couldn't quite make enough putts to put pressure on Kim

Analysis - Poulter has a platform to build on

BBC golf correspondent Iain Carter at Sawgrass

It was a curious Players Championship in that none of the world's top 10 could fashion a top-10 finish, but it still produced its usual share of sporting drama.

Kim showed commendable composure down the stretch to become the youngest winner while Poulter will feel this was a victory despite his runner-up finish.

It has been a torrid time for the Englishman over the last 18 months but this week he showed he remains capable of excellent golf even with a relatively cold putter. Now he has a platform upon which to build for the rest of the year having returned to the world's top 100.

Cabrera Bello makes Players history

Spain's Cabrera Bello produced a spectacular finish to claim a tie for fourth with Stanley.

Cabrera Bello holed out from 181 yards for the first albatross in tournament history on the 16th, then followed that with another two on the 17th, before holing from 35 feet for par on the last after hooking his tee shot into the water.

But compatriot Sergio Garcia, who started the day well placed on five under, saw his hopes of adding the Players title to his Masters Green Jacket disappear on the outward nine.

He dropped six shots and made just one birdie to fall back to level par and two double bogeys and three birdies on the back nine meant he finished one over.

Mixed day for Johnson and McIlroy

Further down the leaderboard, world number one Dustin Johnson finished outside the top three for just the third time this season in a tie for 12th.

The American followed rounds of 71, 73 and 74 with a closing 68.

Rory McIlroy's week came to a disappointing conclusion with a double-bogey six on the 18th in a closing 75.

The world number two from Northern Ireland finished two over par in a tie for 35th and is set to undergo an MRI scan later on Monday to determine the extent of an injury which hampered his efforts at Sawgrass.

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