Mi-Rim runs away with LPGA Kia Clas­sic

New Straits Times - - Sport -

LOS AN­GE­LES: South Korean Lee Mi-Rim fired seven birdies in a seven-un­der par 65 on Sun­day to post a record-equalling tri­umph in the LPGA Kia Clas­sic in Carls­bad, Cal­i­for­nia.

Mi-Rim’s 20-un­der par to­tal of 278 matched the tour­na­ment record set by Cristie Kerr in 2015 — when the Amer­i­can pow­ered past Mi-Rim for a two-shot vic­tory.

De­ter­mined not to be dis­ap­pointed again, overnight leader Mi-Rim opened her round with a birdie and birdied ev­ery other hole on the front nine as she pulled away from the field.

She fin­ished six strokes in front of com­pa­triot Ryu So-Yeon, who carded a 66, and Amer­i­can Austin Ernst, who posted a 67.

“I was a lit­tle ner­vous, but I made it,” said Mi-Rim, who also added birdies at 15 and 16 be­fore she was done.

Mi-Rim said her ball-strik­ing was bet­ter this year than it was two years ago, when she couldn’t hold on to her third-round lead.

She claimed her third LPGA Tour vic­tory and her first since win­ning twice in her rookie sea­son of 2014.

Her to­tal could have been even more im­pres­sive.

At 16 she left an ea­gle at­tempt short, and she had a good look at a long birdie at the last.

Through­out much of the round it was So-Yeon giv­ing chase.

She started the day five-strokes off Mi-Rim’s lead, but pulled within three shots with three holes to play.

Al­though she was un­able to con­vert sev­eral birdie at­tempts on the back nine, World No 5 SoYeon said she was en­cour­aged by her per­for­mance.

“I think ev­ery­thing is right there,” So-Yeon said.

“I just need to keep it pa­tient and need to trust my­self I’m good.

“Even though I haven’t won any tour­na­ment I just can­not re­ally blame any­thing.

“I felt like ev­ery­thing is pretty great.”

Lee Mi-Rim

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