South Korea’s 12th-ranked Kim Sei-Young edged Thailand’s third-ranked Ariya Jutanugarn 1-up in Sunday’s final to win the Lorena Ochoa Match Play title and capture her sixth career LPGA triumph.
Kim, the 2015 LPGA Rookie of the Year, collected her first victory since last June’s Meijer LPGA Classic, winning the first three holes and fighting off a late comeback to win the first LPGA match-play event since 2012.
Ariya, who captured the first of her five LPGA titles exactly a year ago, had defeated American Michelle Wie 4 and 3 in the morning semi-finals while Kim downed 25th-ranked compatriot Hur Mi-Jung 5 and 4. Hur outlasted Wie in 22 holes in the third-place match. Kim led after every hole all day, winning the first three holes in both her matches and holding on for victories. She opened the final birdie-eagle-birdie to jump 3-up on Ariya with threes at the first and second and a two at the par-3 third. Kim kept that lead to the turn as both women followed with six pars.
Ariya won her first hole with a par 4 at the 10th to pull within 2-down and both birdied to halve the par-5 11th as the tension grew. Kim birdied the 12th, stretching her lead back to 3-up, but Ariya answered by winning the par-3 14th when Kim made bogey, trimming the lead to two with four to play.
Both parred to halve the 15th and par-3 16th, Kim lipping out a birdie putt that would have clinched the victory.
Kim then hit her tee shot wide right and out of bounds at the par-5 17th and would lose to hole to Ariya’s birdie, leaving her 1-up on the 18th tee. Both parred the last and Kim had her victory.—AFP