South Korea’s Sei Young Kim shattered the LPGA’s scoring record Sunday while winning the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic in Oneida, Wis., by nine strokes.
Kim closed with a 7-under-par 65, leaving her at 31-under 257 for the tournament. The previous LPGA 72-hole record was 27 under par, set by Annika Sorenstam at the 2001 Standard Register Ping and tied by Kim herself at the 2016 JTBC Founders Cup.
“I would never (think) about it when I was young, about the (LPGA) record,” Kim said. “But after two years ago at JTBC, I shot a 27-under; that tied the record with Annika Sorenstam. After that, I wanted to — really wanted (the LPGA) record.
“Yeah, I’m very happy. (It’s a) dream come true.”
Spain’s Carlota Ciganda matched the low score of the day, 64, to claim second place at 22-under 266.
With Kim entering the final round holding an eight-shot lead, the only question was whether she would continue to tear up Thornberry Creek’s Legends Championship Course to overtake the LPGA record in relation to par.
That proved to be no challenge to Kim, 25, who birdied the first hole and cruised home with a bogey-free round. For the tournament, she never recorded a bogey, with her only misstep being a double bogey at No. 17 on Friday.
“Just before starting (Sunday), I was just setting my goal as a bogey-free round,” Kim said. “So, yeah, I did today, so I’m very happy with another good round.”
Kim wound up with 31 birdies and one eagle, on the third hole Saturday. The 32 holes under par are another record, breaking the mark of 30 set by Brittany Lincicome, Gerina Pillar and Lexi Thompson, all three at the 2017 Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic.
She hit 43 of 56 fairways and 67 of 72 greens in regulation. Kim required just 115 putts over the 72 holes.
“It’s unbelievable the way she’s playing,” Ciganda said of Kim. “She’s a great player. I’ve played with her many times. ... Just one of those weeks that everything is going in. To play that good, I mean, you have to play every shot pretty good.
“I’m just happy for her.”
Emma Talley, who tied for third place, added, “If you would’ve told me that was the winning score I would’ve been like, There’s no way someone is going to go that low. She had a heck of a week and I’m really excited for her.”
The win was the seventh of Kim’s LPGA career, her first since she captured the Citibanamex Lorena Ochoa Match Play in May 2017. She has yet to win a major title. The Thornberry first-place check of $300,000 pushed Kim’s career earnings past $5 million, making her the 61st player to reach that plateau in LPGA history.
Kim and Brooke Henderson are the only players to have registered LPGA wins in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Talley and Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist, who both shot 67 on Sunday, and South Korea’s Amy Yang, who closed with a 68, shared third place at 20 under. Yang was alone in second place after the third round.
England’s Bronte Law (final-round 67) claimed sixth place at 18 under, and eight players tied for seventh at 17 under.
—Field Level Media