Sei Young Kim recorded an eagle from 154-yards with a hole out from the fairway to win the Lotte Championship on the LPGA Tour on Saturday in Kapolei, Hawaii. If the hole out was not enough excitement, it came on the first hole of a playoff Saturday with Inbee Park.
Kim through her translator said the shot was likely her second most memorable. In 2013, she won a tournament where she recorded a hole-in-one on 17 while playing on the KLPGA.
Her shot on 18 in regulation might go down as her third most memorable. Moments after she sank a tough par putt back on 17 to remain even with Park, Kim knocked her drive on 18 into the water.
Kim’s third shot barely cleared the hazard but settled on the fringe that fronts the green. Park lagged her putt to within inches for a par to remain at 11 under. Kim stepped up and casually chipped in from about 18 feet and forced Park to a playoff.
Following her chip in, she stared up to the sky with a grin and her hands help high. This came after an intense five hours covering the 18 holes of regulation.
During the playoff, while staring into a setting sun, Kim hit her approach that once again barely cleared the water, took two bounces before dropping into the cup for an eagle.
Kim said she was between a 7 and 8 iron and then had to choose between cutting and hitting a normal shot. She eventually chose 8 and took a normal shot. It appears some luck was involved, as is true with any hole-outs, but can’t question the decision.
Kim did not see her ball drop in the cup neither did her opponent Park, but the immediate roar of the crowd was enough to tell both Kim and Park what had happened. Park then attempted to match the shot by Kim, but came up short.
After the tournament, Kim said that Park said two things to her – how did you knock that in, and congratulations. She ended the day with a 1-over 73 in winds that gusted to 30 mph. Park finished with a 1-under 71.
I.K. Kim was tied with both Kim and Park with two holes let but bogeyed both holes. I.K. Kim was attempting to win her first LPGA event since 2010.
The first prize money of $270,000 pushed Kim up to No. 1 on the LPGA Tour money list.
The win was her second of the season making her the first two-time winner on tour this season.