On the first playoff hole, Sei Young Kim stuffed her approach shot from the left rough to three feet and calmly tapped in the birdie putt to defeat Carlota Ciganda and capture her fifth LPGA victory at the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give.
“It was 109 meters to the pin,” Kim explained. “It was a lot of release so I just had 90 meters. I did, it worked.”
Both Kim and Ciganda drove the ball in the left rough on the first extra hole. Ciganda played first and sent her approach long and left setting and failed to get up-and-down for par the stage for Kim.
“Only one can win and obviously I hit it to the rough, it wasn’t an easy shot and she hit a really good one,” Ciganda said. “So I mean congratulations to her and she was better.”
Kim actually thought that she wouldn’t need a playoff when she tapped in for a bogey on her 72nd hole.
“Before playoff I felt like already win but I didn’t check the leaderboard,” Kim said. “Then I thought the ceremony was already.”
After she signed her card, Kim was greeted by an LPGA rules official who alerted her that she would be heading back to the 18th tee to compete in the playoff with Ciganda.
“Why’s he waiting for me?,” Kim admitted to wondering. “So after go to the tee box and I realize there’s the playoff. Wow.”
Kim was able to shake it off and improve to a perfect 3-0 in playoffs on the LPGA Tour.
“I just angry on myself, yeah,” Kim said of the error in judgment. “I just say, I have to bounce back because today before I play, I setting my goal no bogey play but last one I missed with bogey. If I bounce back, yeah, it is a good work, so I did it well today.”
Making the moment extra special for Kim was the fact that her dad, Jungil Kim, was in attendance.
“I’m very happy to win on the Father’s Day give it to my dad this trophy,” Kim said with a smile.
LEXI THOMPSON FALLS SHORT OF BACK-TO-BACK BID
Lexi Thompson posted a 1-over, 72 to finish tied for fourth during the final round of the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give on Sunday to fall short of defending her title from 2015.
Thompson, the No. 4 ranked player on the Rolex Rankings, started off the day tied for the lead with In Gee Chun and was consistent throughout her front nine earning one birdie and par throughout the first eight holes. It was her turn on the back nine where Thompson started fall down the leaderboard.
“I just didn’t putt well today,” Thompson said. “I had like 36 putts I think so that never helps out a scorecard. I still hit it pretty well, I thought. Just didn’t give myself too close of birdie chances but still didn’t hit that many good putts.”
On her back nine, Thompson carded two back to back bogeys on holes 12 and 13 and made par throughout the rest of her round to finish. Thompson said her play took a turn for the worst when she made par on 11.
“Parring 11 is never a good thing,” Thompson said. “Especially when you hit the fairway. I hit a great second shot in there, too. I hit two bad chips there on 11 and 12 but didn’t make the putts on those holes as well”
When asked about how she feels about her overall game after her round, Thompson said that she’s very happy with her overall play.
“Last week was a bit of a struggle there at Sahalee but still managed to get a good finish there, Thompson said. “But overall this week with how I played, I’m very happy with it. I hit it a lot better this week, I rolled it great except for today, so it happens.”
NUMBERS TO KNOW
3 – Sei Young Kim improves to 3-0 in playoffs and all were won on the first sudden-death playoff hole; she previously won the 2015 Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic and 2015 LOTTE Championship Presented by HERSHEY in a playoff
1.62 – Sei Young Kim had the fewest number of putts per greens in regulation for 72 holes at 1.62
2 - On Sunday, Sei Young Kim became the fifth player to win at least twice on the LPGA Tour this season. She joins Ha Na Jang, Lydia Ko, Haru Nomura and Ariya Jutanugarn on this accomplishment.
5 – Number of second place finishes for Carlota Ciganda
8 – Number of top-10 finishes for both Lydia Ko and Lexi Thompson in 2016
21.35 – The average age of winners on Tour is 21.35