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Sei Young Kim ties Sorenstam’s record, wins 1st LPGA title of year

March 21, 2016
Kim Sei-young, of South Korea, poses with the trophy after winning the JTBC Founders Cup golf tournament, Sunday, March 20, 2016, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Sei Young Kim, of South Korea, poses with the trophy after winning the JTBC Founders Cup golf tournament, Sunday, March 20, 2016, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

SEOUL (Yonhap) — Last year’s rookie of the year Sei Young Kim captured her first LPGA Tour win of 2016 in Phoenix on Sunday.

Kim cruised to a five-shot victory at the JTBC Founders Cup at Wildfire Golf Club at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix, finishing the four-round event at 27-under 261. She lapped the field with a bogey-free final round of 10-under 62 and left world No. 1 Lydia Ko well back at 22-under.

Kim, who took home US$225,000, also tied an LPGA scoring record in relation to par. At the Standard Register Pingin 2001, Annika Sorenstam also shot 27-under, thanks to a second round 59.

“It’s a dream come true,” Kim told LPGA.com. Her previous low round was a 65, which she posted on six occasions last year.

“Today’s score of 10-under is my best score ever. I didn’t know that after the last putt, but after I checked the scorecard, I asked Paul (Fusco), my caddy, ‘Did I shoot 10-under?’” Kim added. “He said, ‘Yeah.’ Oh, my God. That’s amazing.”

This was the fourth career LPGA win for the 23-year-old sophomore. Kim won the 2015 LPGA Tour Rookie of the Year on the strength of three victories.

Kim, ranked world No. 7, is the third South Korean to win the LPGA Tour in six events this season, joining Kim Hyo-joo and Jang Ha-na. Jang has won twice.

Kim began the final round at 17-under, trailing countrywoman Ji Eun-hee by one stroke. Kim wasted little time making a statement, however, picking up four birdies over her first six holes. She added another birdie at the eighth to make the turn at 22-under.

Kim didn’t slow down on the back nine. She had an eagle at the par-five 11th, and added more birdies on the 13th, 15th and 16th to reach 10-under for the round, and 27-under for the tournament.

She made a lengthy putt to save par at the par-three 17th, and had another par at the 18th to complete her flawless round. Kim didn’t have a three-putt all week.

Ji, who was chasing her first win since 2009, ended up tying for fourth at 19-under after shooting 71 Sunday. She had three birdies against two bogeys in the final round, and was the only other South Korean in the top 10.

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