Sei Young Kim Returns To The Spot of Her Walkoff Eagle
Sei Young Kim returns to the spot of one of the most dramatic moments of the 2015 LPGA season this week at Ko Olina. Kim holed out her second shot, an 8-iron from 154 yards, on the first playoff hole to defeat Inbee Park and claim her second-career LPGA victory at the LOTTE Championship Presented by HERSHEY.
“I don’t know what happened today,” Kim said with a huge smile in the media center following her round. “There was 140 meters, so I think about between 7 or 8. And so I chose 8 normal, and it was good choice.”
Playing first, Kim sent her ball skyward and it took two hops before nestling in the bottom of the cup. Kim seemed to be in disbelief before finally throwing her hands in the air and high fiving her caddie. When Park was unable to match the feat, Kim got to take a champion’s walk to 18 to retrieve her ball from the bottom of the cup.
“Today I didn’t see it coming,” Kim admitted following her win. “I don’t know what I’ve done again to deserve this, but I feel like every time I win a tournament I have to do something crazy or overcome some type of obstacles. I don’t know why it keeps happening, but it feels good.”
Kim got into the playoff with a little bit of magic when, after finding the water with her drive on the 18th in regulation, she got up-and-down for par thanks to a chip-in from 18 feet.
“On the 18th when I hit my hybrid I thought there was no way that it would fall into the hazard. I thought it would come short. When it happened I just tried to get myself under control because something crazy just happened to me,” Kim said. “I thought maybe something crazy will happen again, so I tried to get myself under control and calm myself, and look what happened.“
Fellow playoff competitor Park came away impressed after playing with Kim for the final two rounds.
“Obviously able to chip in and hole out from there, she’s a good player,” Park said. “She’s already won twice this year and she has definitely proven herself that she can compete out here. She’s a great player; I think she’s a great fighter.”
Kim’s shots and victory ended up going viral and were selected as the No. 1 play on ESPN SportsCenter’s Top Plays.
All Four Former LOTTE Champions In The Field
In addition to defending champion Sei Young Kim, the three other champions of the LOTTE Championship Presented by HERSHEY - Michelle Wie, Suzann Pettersen and Ai Miyazato - are in the field this week. Below are their scores at Ko Olina.
- 2015: Sei Young Kim, 67-67-70-73=277 (-11)
- 2014: Michelle Wie, 70-67-70-67=274 (-14)
- 2013: Suzann Pettersen, 65-69-68-67=269 (-19)
- 2012: Ai Miyazato, 71-65-70-70=276 (-12)
Lydia Ko Heads To Hawaii On Fire
Lydia Ko, the No. 1 player in the Rolex Rankings, enters the LOTTE Championship Presented by HERSHEY coming off back-to-back wins at the Kia Classic and the ANA Inspiration.
Ko etched her name into the record books once again with her dramatic victory and second major championship title at the ANA Inspiration. Ko birdied the 72nd hole to get to 12-under par and finished one shot ahead of Charley Hull and In Gee Chun.
With her win at ANA Ko…
- Has now won back-to-back Majors (2016 ANA Inspiration and 2015 Evian Championship)
- Has won back-to-back events on the LPGA (Kia Classic and ANA Inspiration)
- Became the youngest two-time Major winner in LPGA history and the second youngest two-time Major winner in golf history
- At 18 years, 11 months and 10 days Lydia became the second youngest player to win two Majors in golf history behind only Young Tom Morris who was 18 years, 4 months and 27 days old when he won the 1869 Open Championship
- Remain in the No. 1 position in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings for the 24th consecutive week
- Became the second-youngest winner of this event and is exactly one month older than Morgan Pressel’s age (18 years/10 months/9 days) at the time of her win
- Became just the third player to win this major and the LPGA event prior (Annika Sorenstam did it twice (2001 & 2005) and Lorena Ochoa (2008))