A Record Win For Kim
Sei Young Kim tied Annika Sorenstam’s all-time LPGA record with a four-day 27-under-par total Sunday at the JTBC Founders Cup. Kim fired a final round 10-under-par 62 to tie Sorenstam for the lowest four-round total in relation to par in the Tour’s history – a record Sorenstam previously set at the 2001 Standard Register Ping, which was also in the greater Phoenix area at nearby Moon Valley Country Club.
“It’s a dream come true,” Kim said. “Today, I scored 10-under. It’s my best score ever, ever. I didn’t know [about Sorenstam’s record] until after last putt. But after I check the scorecard, I asked Paul, my caddie, I said, ‘Did I shoot 10 under?’ He said, ‘Yeah.” Oh my god, it’s amazing. Yeah, dream come true. So feel great.”
Kim actually had a chance to break Sorenstam’s record at the last but couldn’t hole her 18-foot birdie putt and settled for tying the record.
“Congratulations to Sei Young on her outstanding play this week,” Sorenstam said. “I thought she was going to make that last putt. It’s hard to believe it’s only her second year on the LPGA.”
Kim entered Sunday one shot back of the leader but birdied four of the first six holes to seize control and then set her sights on the scoring record. She made another birdie at eight, holed an eagle at the par-5 11th and posted birdies at 13, 15 and 16 to tie Sorenstam.
“Hole 11, the second shot, that 5-wood, 245 yards, two feet for eagle,” Kim’s caddie Paul Fusco said. “That was just perfect timing, you know. Couple more shot lead. Just kept riding it.”
Interestingly, each of Kim’s previous three LPGA Tour wins – and five on the KLPGA – all came on an island but not this week, where she arrived questioning her game and her confidence after sub-par finishes in the two previous tournaments. Instead, she found her game and blazed a trail in the desert that only one other player in LPGA history has ever seen.
“So exciting right now, and yeah, I’ve been waiting a long time,” Kim said. “Yeah, I had a couple of tournaments, struggle with myself, and then, yeah, after last putt I think about a lot of people, my family and all those people. Yeah, so I feel like almost crying. Yeah.”
World No. 1 Lydia Ko fired a final-round 65 to finish in solo second at 22-under-par for the tournament.
“There’s not that many times when you shoot 7-under on the last day, only a few groups behind and still finished like five behind,” Ko said with a laugh.
Finishing up two shots behind Ko was Jacqui Concolino with a career best solo third place finish. Megan Khang posted her first career top-10 finish Sunday in a tie for fourth with Paula Creamer, Stacy Lewis, Eun-Hee Ji and Brooke Henderson.
The T4 finish was Creamer’s best since her win at the 2014 HSBC Women’s Champions.
KHANG MAKING A NAME FOR HERSELF ON LPGA
In her three events on the LPGA Tour, rookie Megan Khang has already amassed a pair of top-11 finishes, including a new career-best of T4 at this week’s JTBC Founders Cup.
“It’s been amazing,” Khang said. “I went from being a rookie from not many people knew about to walking on the fairway and going “go Megan” and I’m still in shock going, oh, me. That’s me. So it’s definitely exciting and I look forward to the rest of the year.”
While her strong start to 2016 may be a surprise to some, it’s not to the 18-year old.
“I mean everyone comes in here thinking that they can win, and I’m truly one of those people,” Khang said. “Because if you don’t think you can win, there’s no point in coming. But I’m just happy that I’m playing well this season so far, and I hope to continue that the rest of the year.”
NUMBERS TO KNOW
1 – Megan Khang, an LPGA rookie, posted her first career top-10 finish on the LPGA Tour Sunday with her tie for fourth
3 – Jacqui Concolino posted a career-best solo third finish Sunday
4 – Brooke Henderson has now posted four consecutive top-10 finishes
5 – Sei Young Kim is projected to move up to fifth in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings and move to second in the rankings among Korean players, a critical move for securing her spot on South Korea’s UL International Crown and Olympics teams this summer
22 – Stacy Lewis now has 22 top-10 finishes since her last win at the 2014 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G
2014 – Paula Creamer’s tie for fourth was her best finish since her miraculous win at the 2014 HSBC Women’s Champions