It took 47 attempts for In-Kyung Kim to claim her first major victory at the 2017 Ricoh Women’s British Open; and with the win, the weight of the missed putt and a lost major championship in 2012 was lifted off her shoulders.
Kim used to be bothered by the interview questions about the 2012 ANA Inspiration and the missed one-footer, but she has since realized it is going to be asked, it is a part of her history and her past. She said things happen for a reason and it makes making that three-foot putt a bit more rewarding.
“I am so glad she finally won a major. She has been so close a few times and of course the short putt she missed five years ago has probably haunted her for a while,” Annika Sorenstam told LPGA.com. “What makes this special is that IK has tried for years to put that incident behind her, but unfortunately the scenario keeps being brought up by media, fans, etc. This was a huge win in many ways, and I trust it will help everyone forget about the past and she will now be known as a major winner and not a player that threw it away.”
It’s a great feeling but very easy to get flat when you hold a six-stroke lead heading into the final round of a major championship, Sorenstam remembered those feelings.
“It’s always special to lead going into Sunday, then you add a major to the mix, and it gets very pressure packed. To have a big lead is tough because what we always feel is it’s ours to lose, and we are “opposed” to win,” said Sorenstam. “You really have to stick to your game plan which is obviously working that week and not look back. It’s tricky to find a balance of playing conservatively while still being aggressive at the right moments. Focusing on the process and not the result is the key.”
Kim, like any other golfer, has a set routine each week and a late tee doesn’t change that.
“You have to treat every tournament equally with regards to your warm up routines; otherwise you are sending a message that this is extra important and it can make you more nervous than normal,” said Sorenstam. “It’s crucial that you stick to your routines. I used to take my time in the mornings if I had a late tee time. I would usually go to the gym. It’s important to just do something you enjoy and distract your mind from the tournament and save energy for the round.”
With Kim’s victory, she moved to fourth on the official money list, sits second in the Player of the Year race and has three wins in thirteen starts this season.
“She is a very solid player who has had a tremendous year. She is top 10 in scoring average which shows she is consistent and well-rounded in her game,” said Sorenstam. “I feel like her attitude has continued to get better as she has matured. She showed maturity and patience in a different way than in previous years. As we know, the mental aspect is like the 15th club, so never underestimate the power of the mind.”
With her win, Kim joins So Yeon Ryu, Danielle Kang and Sung Hyun Park as the fourth major champion of 2017 which makes her eligible for the season-ending Rolex Annika Major Award, awarded at the Evian Championship to the player with the best performance in the majors during the season. Ryu holds the current lead in the standing with Kim, Park, and Kang tied for second.