Michael Kim, who won the John Deere Classic in record fashion last year, will be back to defend his title July 8-14 at TPC Deere Run.
Kim, who shot a tournament record 27-under par 257 and won by a record eight shots, will be trying to win his second PGA Tour event when he returns to the Quad Cities this summer.
“Michael ran away from the field last year and dominated the tournament like no one else has at TPC Deere Run,” said John Deere Classic tournament director Clair Peterson. “All of us look forward to having him back in the Quad Cities.”
Kim’s 27-under par total erased Steve Stricker’s record of 26-under 256 set in 2010. The 25-year-old native of Seoul, South Korea who grew up in San Diego also broke the 7-shot margin-of-victory record set by David Frost at Oakwood Country Club in 1993. He was the 22nd player to earn his first victory at the PGA Tour’s Quad Cities event since it began in 1971.
His victory earned Kim the final exemption into the British Open, where he flew on the John Deere Classic charter. At Carnoustie, he made the cut and finished tied for 35th, thus becoming the ninth of 12 John Deere Classic qualifiers who played in the Open to make the cut. (Francesco Molinari, who finished T-2 at last year’s John Deere, won the Open.)
Kim took a five-shot lead into the final round, birdied his first three holes, and led by as many as nine shots, making for an unusual final round at a tournament known for its dramatic finishes.
In 19 years at TPC Deere Run, the event has been decided by two shots or fewer 13 times, including six playoffs.
For the week, Kim recorded 30 birdies and only three bogeys.
One of the more memorable moments was the appearance of Kim’s parents and brother, who surprised Michael as he walked to the 18th green on Sunday. They had flown in from San Diego the night before, came to the tournament on Sunday afternoon but didn’t let Michael know of their presence until he had hit his approach shot to the 18th green. They also accompanied him to the British Open.