Open title helps Kim purge pain
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — Kim In-kyung banished the haunting memory of missing a 14-inch putt to win a major and replaced it with the sweetest sensation.
Finally, she can call herself a major champion.
Staked to a six-shot lead in the Women’s British Open, Kim never led anyone get closer than two shots at Kingsbarns Links on Sunday and sealed victory with a bold hybrid over the burn to the 17 th green.
She made nine pars on the back nine and closed with a 1-under 71 for a two-shot victory.
“I cannot describe my feelings,” Kim said. “I just tried to have some fun, but it wasn’t fun on the back nine.”
Britain’s Jodi Shadoff made her work for it by charging home with a 64 to put pressure on the 29-yearold South Korean.
Kim didn’t falter over an increasingly soggy course and finished at 18-under 270 to capture the $487,500 first prize.
Michelle Wie went out in 30 to give Kim something to think about, but the 27-yearold from Hawaii stalled and closed with a 66 to tie for third with Caroline Masson (67) and Georgia Hall (70).
Kim now has won three times, the most by anyone on the LPGA Tour this year and all in the last two months.
But this was the biggest by far.
She was no more than 14 inches away from winning the 2012 Kraft Nabisco Championship for her first major when she clasped her hand over her mouth in disbelief when the ball spun out of the hole. She lost in a playoff, and it was a tough memory to shake. Until Sunday. “I almost cried when I won. Winning is great,” Kim said. “It was a long process to get over 2012. A lot of people helped me. Now I enjoy playing golf again. What it taught me is to give the same effort on every shot, even the shortest of putts.”
Armed with a six-shot overnight advantage, Kim was rarely threatened throughout a four-and-ahalf-hour final round in which she made only one bogey.
Shadoff matched the course record reached earlier this week by Wie and Olympic gold medalist Park In-bee and got within two shots of Kim with her eighth birdie of the round that put her at 16-under.
“I didn’t think starting the day that I would have a shot,” Shadoff said. “I had a great stretch in the middle of the round to get me going. My plan at the start was just to take the opportunities when I got them and that’s what I did.”
Wie was the only other player to get closer than five shots of Kim.
Seemingly impervious to the pressure of leading, Kim sailed along in the damp, overcast conditions, her steady play offering little encouragement to a chasing pack that also included the likes of Lexi Thompson, Stacy Lewis, Park and Moriya Jutanugarn.
A birdie on the par-3 opening hole, where her drive nearly found the bottom of the cup, set Kim on her way.
Kim In-kyung poses with the trophy after winning the Women’s British Open on Sunday.