Kim sets new LPGA record in Wisconsin
By Murray Gleffe
HOBART-Say what! Sei Young Kim shot 31 under par for 72 holes at the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic.
She broke the previous record of 27 under par held previously by Kim and Annika Sorenstam.
Her rounds of 63,65, 64, and 65 included 31 birdies, 1 eagle, and 1 double bogey.
“I really feel like unreal,” said Kim. “Beginning year I didn’t have confidence. I was like kind of uncomfortable what I play the tour. I think I keep setting my goal. A target big important to me.”
In the final round, she didn’t show any nerves right out of the gate.
Kim hit her approach to 11 feet on the first hole and calmly knocked in the birdie.
It showed to the fans that she was ready to put her name in the record books and not play par golf on championship Sunday.
After a pulled drive on the third, Kim punched down the fairway and hit her third onto the green some twenty feet from the hole.
Her par, however, was offset by her playing competitor Amy Yang’s eagle.
At that moment, Kim’s lead was trimmed to six.
Sei Young that went to the open prairie holes and collected two more birdies at the seventh and eighth to build her lead up back up.
She stood on the ninth hole needing birdie to eclipse the record.
After a 295-yard drive, Kim hit a 5-wood to the green that never left the flagstick.
Despite not capitalizing on the short eagle putt, she tapped in and made the turn at 28 under par eclipsing the previous record.
She wasn’t done adding to her total.
Sei Young added birdies at 10 and 12 to extend the gap on playing partner Yang.
With six holes remaining, her competitors were vying for second place.
At 15, Amy’s chances of a runner-up finish faded after she hit two balls into the water.
With a driver in hand, Yang’s drive went through the fairway and didn’t stop rolling until it found the hazard.
Then, after taking a drop, she pushed her third shot into the greenside hazard and ended up making a seven.
After Kim made an easy two-putt birdie on the 15th, she had a seven-stroke lead over Spain’s Carlota Ciganda who was 10 under par for the day playing the last.
Needing a birdie to smash the course record, Carlota’s hybrid off the tee put her in prime position to do so.
Then the dreaded ‘shank’ hit her in this crazy game we love to call golf.
From 105 yards out, with a lob wedge, Ciganda caught the hosel of the club on the downswing and the ball went sailing dead right into a grove of thick trees.
She declared the ball as lost, hit her fourth over the green, and eventually settled for a double bogey.
It was a frustrating end to a round that had 10 birdies in it up to that point.
“Overall I think it’s a great week,” said Ciganda. “I mean, I was thinking even not playing this tournament, going home and rest, so I’m happy the way I played. Lots of birdie; lots of good shots.”
Three groups later, Kim came to the last with an insurmountable lead.
Though her last birdie putt didn’t fall, she tapped in for par and a nine-stroke victory over Ciganda.
This was Kim’s seventh career victory and first of 2018.
With the win, Sei Young collected $300,000 and has now topped the $5 million mark in career earnings.
“My parents really supporting me this year, because my mom didn’t travel with me for awhile,” said Kim. “Yeah, I’m very happy to give them the great memory.”
Complete scores of the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic: www.lpga.com/tournaments/thornberry-creek-lpga-classic/leaderboard
Final Round Notes:
-Four players from the United States finished in the top-25
-55 players shot at least 10 under par or better for the tournament
-There were an incredible 1,845 birdies made for the four rounds of action
-Sei Young Kim hit 17 of 18 greens in the final round
-The first hole played the most difficult, and the ninth played the easiest during the week
-Moriya Jutanugarn hit all 18 greens on Sunday