Kim Sei-young wins Lotte Championship in dramatic fashion

April 20, 2015

Sei Young Kim, of South Korea celebrates after chipping in a birdie to force a playoff with Inbee Park, of South Korea, during the LPGA Lotte Championship golf tournament at Ko Olina Golf Club, Saturday, April 18, 2015, in Kapolei, Hawaii. Kim won the tournament. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)

Sei Young Kim, of South Korea celebrates after chipping in a birdie to force a playoff with Inbee Park, of South Korea, during the LPGA Lotte Championship golf tournament at Ko Olina Golf Club, Saturday, April 18, 2015, in Kapolei, Hawaii. Kim won the tournament. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)

By Brian Han

South Korean rookie Kim Sei-young made waves Saturday in Kapolei, Hawaii after holing out a 154-yard approach shot in a sudden death playoff.

Blustery conditions and a tucked pin over a water hazard on the 18th couldn’t stop Kim’s winning shot from dropping in after two hops.

She fended off world No. 2 Park Inbee to claim the Lotte Championship title.

The win at Ko Olina Golf Club marks the second victory of her first LPGA Tour season vaulting her ahead of compatriots Choi Na-yeon and Q Baek in the world rankings.

“This is probably the second most memorable shot for me,” Kim told the Golf Channel through a translator. “In 2013, I won a tournament, which had the biggest prize money on the KLPGA. I won that tournament by making a hole-in-one on 17, so that was probably my most memorable shot. Sorry.”

Either way the 22-year-old looked like she was thoroughly enjoying the moment especially during her celebration following a chip-in on the final hole of regulation to tie Park.

Park almost seemed ready to hoist up the trophy before Kim’s chip dropped and she really didn’t have a chance after that point.

Both golfers shot an 11-under total.

“Inbee said two things to me,” Kim grinned. “How did you get that in? And congratulations.”

Even though Park couldn’t close the tournament out, she still moved back up to No. 2 in the world over Stacy Lewis and behind Lydia Ko.

The $270,000 prize money gave Kim Sei-young the lead in earnings for the 2015 season.

Kim In-kyung was also in contention for most of the week, but left herself out of the picture after a three-putt on the 17th. She went on to shoot a 9-under total to claim a third place finish.

She has not won an LPGA event since 2010, but her performance throughout the week showed that her game might be back on a highly competitive level.

South Koreans reasserted their dominance on tour by taking up all top-5 spots by the tournament’s end.

Kim Hyo-joo and Chella Choi shot a seven-under total to tie for fourth place.

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