Despite a leaderboard that was filled with Americans for much of the first three rounds, it was once again a South Korean who took home the LPGA Tour’s trophy.
A week after Sung Hyun Park won the U.S. Women’s Open, In-Kyung Kim fired a bogey-free 8-under 63 at Highland Meadows Golf Club on Sunday to win the Marathon Classic by four shots.
Kim, who won the ShopRite LPGA Classic in June, joins her countrywoman So Yeon Ryu (ANA Inspiration, Walmart NW Arkansas Championship) as the only two-time winners on tour this season.
“I think today the pin positions were a little bit comfortable for me,” said Kim, who now has six LPGA Tour wins. “I’ve been hitting little draws this week, and when the pin is tucked on the left side, I was having a hard time, but I think just knowing what I’m doing kind of helped me to plan out the round.”
Four shots back, and alone in second, was Lexi Thompson, who shot a final round 5-under 66.
“17-under, I’m never going to complain with that. I did my best. That’s all I can do,” said Thompson, who finished runner-up for the fifth time this season.
Gerina Piller (68), who led after both of the first two rounds, finished tied for third along with Peiyun Chien at 15-under.
“I feel like my game, I played really well. To start off 8-under, that’s huge. But I didn’t come away with the win, but it doesn’t mean I didn’t have a winning performance,” said Piller, who is still searching for her first career win.
Sandra Changkija (69) finished alone in fifth at 14-under, one ahead of Kim Kaufman (65) and Park (70), who tied for sixth at 13-under.
A logjam of five players finished in a tie for eighth at 12-under, including 54-hole leader Nelly Korda, who posted a 3-over 74 on Sunday.
The win was worth $240,000 for Kim, and moves her into 16th place in the Race to CME Globe standings.
1 In-Kyung Kim -21
2 Lexi Thompson -17
3 Gerina Piller -15
3 Pei-Yun Chien -15
5 Sandra Changkija -14
6 Kim Kaufman -13
6 Sung Hyun Park -13
8 Angela Stanford -12
8 Angel Yin -12
8 Brittany Lincicome -12
8 Aditi Ashok -12
8 Nelly Korda -12
After Round One
1 Gerina Piller -8
2 Sung Hyun Park -7
2 Pei-Yun Chien -7
4 Kelly Shon -6
4 In-Kyung Kim -6
4 Aditi Ashok -6
After Round Two
1 Gerina Piller -11
2 In-Kyung Kim -10
2 Lexi Thompson -10
2 Pei-Yun Chien -10
2 Nelly Korda -10
After Round Three
1 Nelly Korda -15
2 In-Kyung Kim -13
3 Sandra Changkija -12
3 Sung Hyun Park -12
3 Aditi Ashok -12
3 Pei-Yun Chien -12
3 Lexi Thompson -12
3 Gerina Piller -12
— LPGA (@LPGA) July 24, 2017
- Kim’s final 72-hole score of 263 was her career low. Her previous best was at the 2016 Reignwood LPGA Classic (268).
- Kim’s final-round 63 ties the lowest score of her career(first round, 2011 Honda LPGA Thailand).
- Seven of the last 11 winners of the Marathon Classic have been from the Republic of Korea.
- With their earnings this week, Kim ($8,116,591) and Brittany Lincicome ($8,000,538) are the 23rd and 24th players in LPGA history to cross the $8 million threshold.
“My really good friend, actually a fan from here, he comes to other tournaments, and he knows that I love Beatles and Paul McCartney, and he gave me this, and I put it on, and just like, dang, just good vibe, I think.”
–In-Kyung Kim, on her Beatles ball marker
Credit: Getty Images, PGA Tour Communications