KAPOLEI, Hawaii — Sei Young Kim holed out her second shot, an 8-iron from 154 yards, on the first playoff hole to defeat Rolex Rankings No. 3 Inbee Park and claim her second-career LPGA victory at the LOTTE Championship.
“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 through her interpreter. “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 through a translator. “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.”
I.K. Kim finished in third at 9-under after bogeys on 17 and 18, while Hyo Joo Kim and Chella Choi rounded out the top-5 at 7 under.