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U.S. Women's Open rookie A Lim Kim rallies for a major title on a cold Texas Monday


Midday on an unusual Monday finish at the U.S. Women’s Open – played in December, even more unusual – the title seemed firmly within Amy Olson’s grasp. The North Dakota native, bundled up, like most players, to battle a South Texas cold snap had a two-shot advantage shortly after making the turn at Champions Golf Club in Houston.

Then A Lim Kim went on a run.

Playing three groups ahead of Olson, South Korea’s Kim made clutch birdies at Nos. 16-18 coming down the stretch. The birdie at No. 17 – which came off an approach Kim hit to 2 feet – allowed her to pull even with Olson at 2 under. Kim’s final birdie gave her the solo lead, and ultimately the title, at 3 under.

Olson was not only playing for her first major title, but her first LPGA title. Olson couldn’t get much going on the back nine, and ultimately ended her chances with a bogey on No. 16 even though she birdied the 18th to tie for second with world No. 1 Jin Young Ko. She is, however, already  USGA champion, having won the 2009 U.S. Girls’ Junior.

Kim, 25 and ranked No. 94 in the Rolex Rankings, started the week among the 41 first-time U.S. Women’s Open competitors in the field. She has won twice on the Korean LPGA tour.

Kim was sitting with a cup of coffee in player dining when she was doused by her friends with champagne bottles, as is customary on the LPGA. Kim will carry off a $1 million first-place prize for the week.

Kim is the 10th U.S. Women’s Open winner from South Korea in the past 16 years.

“Can’t really describe in words,” Kim said through a translator when asked what that means for golf in her country. “Never expected that I was going to appear in the U.S. Women’s Open. With this win, still can’t feel what it’s like right now. Probably feel it when today’s tournament and the ceremony wraps up.”

Shortly after signing for her final-round 67, Kim and her caddie giggled through the complete cleaning out of her golf bag to find her cell phone, which she had dropped in the bottom of the bag.

It might be a good thing to keep handy considering there could be a few congratulatory messages coming in for Kim on Monday afternoon.

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