HOUSTON: South Korea’s Kim A-Lim produced a stunning finish to snatch her maiden major victory with a one-shot win in the delayed finale to the US Women’s Open on Monday.
The 25-year-old, who had never won a tournament outside of South Korea before, rattled in three consecutive birdies on the 16th, 17th and 18th holes to finish with a four-under-par 67 at Champions Golf Club in Houston.
That finish left Kim on three under for the tournament, one shot clear of compatriot and world number one Ko Jin-Young and Amy Olson of the United States, who had led for much of the final round. Japan’s Hinako Shibuno was fourth on one under after draining a monstrous 30-foot birdie putt on the 18th.
“I decided to come out today, be aggressive, attack the pin,” Kim said afterwards. “It worked out today.”
Kim, playing in the US Women’s Open for the first time, had started the day as a long-shot for the title, five shots adrift of third round leader Shibuno.
However she climbed up the leaderboard with a superb performance over the front nine, making birdies on the 5th, 6th and 8th holes to reach the turn at two under for the tournament.
Her progress looked to have stalled when she posted back-to-back bogeys on the 10th and 11th holes to drop to even par.
Olson, meanwhile, who had started the day just one shot adrift of Shibuno, took sole possession of the lead after recovering from a nightmare start.
The 28-year-old from North Dakota — chasing her first ever win on the LPGA Tour — had been rocked by a family tragedy after it emerged on Sunday her father-in-law had died suddenly on Saturday.
Olson, one of 18 players who never teed off their final round on Sunday after heavy rain deluged the course, started sluggishly, with a trio of bogeys on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th holes threatening to torpedo her hopes.