© Provided by Associated Press Si Woo Kim hits from the very first fairway throughout the final round of The American Express golf competition on the Pete Dye Stadium Course at PGA West Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021, in La Quinta, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez).

LA QUINTA, Calif. (AP)– Si Woo Kim birdied two of the last 3 holes to finish a rock-solid, 8-under 64, coolly rallying past late-charging Patrick Cantlay by one shot to win The American Express on Sunday for his third PGA Tour success.

© Offered by Associated Press Si Woo Kim strikes from the 3rd tee during the last round of The American Express golf tournament on the Pete Dye Stadium Course at PGA West Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021, in La Quinta, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez).

A year after Kim withdrew from the desert tournament due to the fact that of a back injury following a terrible preliminary, he started the last round with a share of the lead as he attempted to win for the very first time because the 2017 Gamers Champion.

© Offered by Associated Press Si Woo Kim hits from the 3rd tee throughout the final round of The American Express golf tournament on the Pete Dye Stadium Course at PGA West Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021, in La Quinta, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez).

The 25-year-old South Korean didn’t flinch when Cantlay shot a 61 and surged out of 13th place to the front while breaking the Stadium Course record by 2 strokes.

Playing six groups behind Cantlay, 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 take the lead, joyously pumping his fist when his perfectly paced putt dropped.

Kim concluded his third bogey-free round of the tournament– all on the Pete Dye-designed Stadium Course– with a two-putt par on the 18th to end up at 23-under 265.

Kim had a better time than he did in 2015 in his return to the Palm Springs-area competition long hosted by Bob Hope. A year ago, Kim shot a 15-over 87 in the opening round on the much easier neighboring Nicklaus Course before withdrawing.

© Supplied by Associated Press Patrick Cantlay sees his tee shot on the very first hole throughout the final round of The American Express golf tournament on the Pete Dye Stadium Course at PGA West, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021, in La Quinta, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez).

Australia’s Cameron Davis shot a 64 to end up in a career-best third at 20 under. Tony Finau had a 68 and completed fourth after beginning the last round with a share of the lead in his quest to land his long-awaited second PGA Tour win.

Cantlay was in 56th place when the 3rd round began, however the Southern California native’s 65-61 finish shot him out of the congested field and nearly caused his second victory of the 2020-21 season. He also won the Zozo Championship in Thousand Oaks last October when it was relocated from Japan.

The 28-year-old Cantlay made 11 birdies in the final round, consisting of 6 in eight holes on the front 9. Cantlay topped his spectacular round with a 37-foot birdie putt on the 18th, pumping his fist subtly for the few fans clapping from their houses near the green.

© Provided by Associated Press Patrick Cantlay, right, bumps fists with Andrew Putman before teeing off on the first hole throughout the last round of The American Express golf tournament on the Pete Dye Stadium Course at PGA West, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021, in La Quinta, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez).

Cantlay was born in Long Beach, went to high school in Anaheim and was the Division I gamer of the year at UCLA prior to his pro profession.

All told, Cantlay made 20 birdies in his final two rounds, balanced out by two bogeys Saturday.

Third-round co-leaders Max Homa and Finau both faded, with Homa struggling to 5 bogeys in a 76, leaving him at 11 under. Finau published his third top-10 surface of the season, but could not stay up to date with Kim.

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