Kim wins LPGA Tour’s Lorena Ochoa Match Play

Cape Breton Post - - Sports -

Sei Young Kim held off Ariya Ju­tanu­garn 1 up on Sun­day to win the Lorena Ochoa Match Play for her sixth LPGA Tour ti­tle.

Af­ter Ju­tanu­garn won the par-5 17th with a birdie to force an­other hole, Kim fin­ished off the match with a halve for a par on the par-4 18th.

“It was a re­ally tough day to­day,” Kim said. “I never had such a hard win like to­day. I am happy that I was able to win and hold this tro­phy.” Though, that wasn’t easy. “That tro­phy is re­ally heavy,” Kim said. “When I held it, I felt pain.”

In the morn­ing semi­fi­nals at Club de Golf Mex­ico, Kim beat Mi Jung Hur 5 and 4, and the third-ranked Ju­tanu­garn topped Michelle Wie 4 and 3. Hur won the third-place match, over­com­ing a five-hole deficit to beat Wie in 22 holes.

Kim trailed for only four of the 95 holes she played, also beat­ing Maude-Aimee Le­blanc (3 and 1), Danielle Kang (3 and 2), Charley Hull (3 and 1) and Karine Icher (5 and 4) in the event that switched from stroke to match play and moved from Novem­ber. The 24-year-old South Korean player is pro­jected to jump from 12th to eighth in the world rank­ing.

Kim opened birdie-ea­glebirdie to take a 3-up lead in the fi­nal.

“She is an ag­gres­sive player, even with the 3-up start, I was still very ner­vous and fo­cused in

mak­ing birdies,” Kim said. “I just kept play­ing as if I was 1 down.”

Ju­tanu­garn, a five-time win­ner last year, won the par-5 10th with a birdie, Kim took the par-4 12th with a birdie, and Ju­tanu­garn cut the deficit to two holes with a par win on the par-4 14th.

Kim missed a chance to win on the par-3 16th when her short birdie try lipped out. She then drove out of bounds to the right on the par-5 17th, and Ju­tanu­garn took the hole with a 12foot birdie putt.

“I had a prob­lem with my ball­strik­ing. It was re­ally pushy,” Kim

said. “That’s why it was go­ing out of bounds. I tried to stay calm, but I re­ally couldn’t. My hands were shak­ing, my legs were shak­ing too. It was re­ally hard to keep calm.”

Both play­ers had birdie tries from about 10 feet on the par-4 18th. Kim’s just brushed the hole, knock­ing her to her knees in dis­be­lief, and Ju­tanu­garn missed to end the match.

Wie had a 5-up lead over Hur af­ter 10 holes. Hur took five of the next seven holes to tie it and won with a birdie on the 22nd hole.

“I was so frus­trated with my

game,” Hur said. “I played 36 holes on Satur­day and to­day as well, my mind was try­ing to keep it up. My cad­die kept say­ing pos­i­tive things and try­ing to keep my fo­cused.”

Wie is win­less since the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open. She won the then-Lorena Ochoa In­vi­ta­tional in stroke play in 2009 in Guadala­jara for her first tour ti­tle.

Kim knocked off friend Hur in the morn­ing.

“We have a good re­la­tion­ship. We live in the same area in Dal­las so we’ve had din­ner a cou­ple times,” Kim said.

AP PHOTO/RE­BECCA BLACKWELL

Sei Young Kim of South Korea holds up the tro­phy af­ter win­ning the Lorena Ochoa In­vi­ta­tional at the Mex­ico Golf Club in Mex­ico City, Sun­day.

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