Hyo Joo Kim was eating a Pop-Tart in the player lounge when she realized there would be no playoff. A couple of bogeys on the closing holes for Australia’s Hannah Green gave Kim a one-shot victory at the HSBC Women’s World Championship, her first LPGA title in five years.
Kim, who wore a white mask that extended down below her neckline because of a severe sun allergy, closed with a sizzling 64 to finish at 17-under 271. Australia’s Green (69) came in solo second while Patty Tavatanakit, the wire-to-wire winner of the ANA Inspiration, finished with a 65 to move into a share of third with Inbee Park and China’s Xiyu Lin.
“Winning after such a long time,” said Kim, “it feels like my first win of all. It feels like a dream at this moment.”
Kim, 25, burst onto the scene in 2014 when she captured her first LPGA title at the Amundi Evian Championship, carding a record-setting 10-under 61 in the first round. She now owns four career LPGA titles.
In 2020, Kim opted to stay back in South Korea and compete on the KLPGA, where she played in 14 events and won twice, including the KB Financial Group STAR Championship, the final major of the season. She topped the KLPGA money list last season too.
Kim’s first start to the 2021 LPGA season came at the Kia Classic where she tied for fifth.
“Last year playing at the KLPGA Tour definitely helped me this year,” said Kim. “I worked out and did exercise a lot and that definitely helped me with distance, driving distance.”
— LPGA (@LPGA) May 2, 2021
Kim entered the week ninth in the Rolex Rankings and fourth on the South Korean Olympic team, as it currently stands. The top three players in the world are from South Korea (Jin Young Ko, Inbee Park and Sei Young Kim). A total of four players can make the team.
“I played at a couple of international tournaments as a Korean representative for like the junior Cups,” said Kim, “so it means a lot to me that I would feel very proud and responsible with the Korean flag on my side, and I think it will give a huge impact on not only my golf life but my life in general.”
Green, who has been trending toward the winner’s circle for weeks, holed out for eagle on the 14th take a share of the lead. A couple of three-putts on the closing holes, however, dropped her down to second.
“I don’t want to sound obnoxious,” said Green, “but it is nice I’m not playing my best and getting these results. I’ve heard it’s a bit warmer in Thailand and a hillier course, so my No. 1 goal is to make sure that I make every round and make sure that I’m keeping hydrated. I feel like my driver was a little bit off this week, so if I can get that into gear, I feel like I can be up on top again.”
Speaking of Thailand, Tavatanakit heads back home for the first time since February 2020. The rookie returns as a major champion on the heels of a bogey-free 65.
“I’m already confident with my game ever since ANA,” said Tavatakanit, “and I feel like I can compete out there even more. If anything, I don’t want to get too ahead of myself, because next week, I know the course, I’ve played there. It’s my home country. Obviously, there’s a little bit more pressure because everyone wants me to play well, but you know, seeing what I can do out here and try to carry it on to next week, it’s going to be important.”
original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2021/05/02/hyo-joo-kim-ends-five-year-drought-with-dream-day-in-singapore-at-hsbc-womens-world/