South Korea’s Hyo-Joo Kim became the third youngest winner of a women’s Major as she held off a final round charge from Australian Karrie Webb to win the Evian Championship in France.
Karrie Webb (Photo: Getty)
The 19-year-old from Wonju ended one stroke ahead of Webb after a dramatic two shot swing on the final hole. Kim, who made headlines with her first round of 10-under 61 and led by one going into the final round, fired four birdies to build a three stroke lead after 12 holes. She made her first bogey of the day on the par-3 14th, which cut her lead to one stroke as Webb began her final round assault.
The 39-year-old from Queensland made birdie on the first hole but double bogeyed the second before picking up five birdies in seven holes from the ninth. She finally gained the advantage on the 16th hole, when Kim dropped her second shot of the day after missing an uphill putt of nine feet.
At the 17th, Webb’s 25 foot birdie putt ended seven feet short of the hole, but she showed nerves of steel as she made her second to stay one ahead of Kim going to the 18th tee.
On the 18th fairway, both players had 176 yards to the pin and Webb played her second shot first. Her ball ended in the fringe just left of the green before Kim fired an arrow-straight shot to within 12 feet short of the flag.
Webb chipped the ball just onto the edge of the green and it rolled down agonisingly close to the hole, before running another ten feet past.
After Kim rolled her birdie putt straight into the hole for a final round of three-under-par 68 and a total of 273, 11-under-par, Webb needed to make her uphill putt to tie and force a play-off, but it missed left of the hole. She then tapped in for bogey and a matching round of 68 to end 10-under par in second place.
“It was a rush of adrenaline with the belly wedge and the putt was faster than I thought,” said Webb. “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.”
Standing on the 18th green, Kim expressed little emotion as she realised she had won on her major championship debut but she said afterwards: “I was flying like a bird.”
The first year Physical Education student at Seoul University, who tied for fourth in the Evian Masters as an amateur, has already won four times on the Korean LPGA Tour in two years as a professional.
Aged 19 years and two months exactly, she became the third youngest women’s major winner after Morgan Pressel, who won the 2007 Kraft Nabisco Championship aged 18 years 10 months and 9 days and Lexi Thompson, who won the 2014 Kraft Nabisco Championship aged 19 years, one month and 27 days.
Kim, the 10th player from South Korea to win a major championship, is projected to move from No. 20 to No. 10 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings and with her first prize of 487,500 USD, or approximately 376,000 euros, she has pledged to buy her mother multiple designer handbags.
With four South Koreans in the top five places, Ha-Na Jang (66) and MJ Hur (68) tied for third place on nine-under, followed by Ya Neon Choi in fifth place on eight-under-par.
The 2013 Evian champion Suzann Pettersen shot a final round of 67 to finish in sixth place, with Paula Creamer of the United States in seventh on six-under-par.
World No.3 Lydia Ko of New Zealand shared eighth place on four-under-par with Brittany Lincicome of the United States, with six players including Swede Anna Nordqvist and World No.2 Inbee Park in a share of 10th on two-under-par.
Australian Minjee Lee tied for 16th on her professional debut alongside World No.1 Stacy Lewis and two other players.
Earlier in the final round, Japan's Mika Miyazato had a hole in one on 16 using an 8 iron from 138 yards. At the conclusion of the championship, the US Women’s Open champion Michelle Wie won the inaugural Rolex Annika Major Award for the best performance across all five majors this year.