Teenager Kim seals first major after Karrie Webb falters on final hole
A two-shot swing on the final hole of the final women’s major of the season saw South Korean teenager Hyo-Joo Kim clinch a remarkable victory in the Evian Championship at the expense of Karrie Webb of Australia Sunday.
Webb chasing an eighth career major, but first since 2006, was one ahead going into the 18th hole, but took three shots from the edge of the green for a bogey five, missing her final effort from 12 feet.
By contrast, the 19-year-old Kim, playing her first major, showed no sign of nerves as he rolled home a 15-foot birdie putt to finish on 11-under 273.
Speaking through an interpreter, Kim admitted: “I was flying like a bird.”
Webb, who would have become the first player to win six different majors, with the Evian Championship a recent addition to the roster, said she had misjudged her first effort from the edge of the green.
“It was a rush of adrenaline with the belly wedge and the putt was faster than I thought. It was a very poor putt and I knew I had to make it for a play-off.
“I had a lot of good shots and hit every green bar the second hole and it’s obviously disappointing, but I gave myself a good chance.”
Kim, who stunned the golf world with her opening 10-under 61 in France, closed with a final round of 68 to clinch the 350,000-euro first prize ($487,500).
She has the added bonus of winning her full playing rights to next season’s LPGA Tour without having to qualify.
Webb also shot a 68 for 10-under with two more South Koreans, Jang Ha-Na (66) and Hur Mi Jung (68) tied for third on nine-under.
To complete its domination, another Korean Choi Na Yeon, was fifth on eight-under after a fine closing 67.
Kim first came to attention at the 2012 Evian Masters — the last event before it became a major — finishing fourth as an amateur that year.
In 2013 she was Rookie of the Year on the Korean Tour and has already won three times this season.
U.S. star Michelle Wie had to pull out of the first round with a hand injury, but had some consolation by sealing the inaugural Annika (Sorenstam) Major Award.
It is for the player who has won at least one major and has the best overall record.
Wie claimed her first major at the U.S.Women’s Open champion and was runner-up to Thompson in the Kraft Nabisco Championship.