Kim’s Pelican title not just any daily dozen

Kim’s Pelican title not just any daily dozen

MIAMI • South Korean Kim Sei-young followed up her first Major title at the Women’s PGA Championship with her 12th LPGA crown on Sunday, firing an even-par 70 to win the Pelican Women’s Championship by three strokes.

“A win is always great,” said the world No. 2, who became the first woman since Thai Ariya Jutanugarn in 2016 to follow a maiden Major title with a Tour triumph in her next start. “I’m very happy to win the 12th tournament, and after winning the Major tournament, it means a lot to me.”

She finished with a 14-under total of 266 for a three-shot win over Ally McDonald, who carded a two-under 68 in Belleair, Florida.

The 28-year-old American had trailed Kim by five coming into the final round, and admitted that while she started the day aiming to close the gap, “once we got to a point, I just tried to take Sei-young out of it and play like a little tournament within the rest of the field”.

McDonald, who claimed her first LPGA title at the Drive On Championship in Georgia last month, finished two strokes in front of Northern Ireland’s Stephanie Meadow, who fired a 69 for 271.

But Kim said she felt some pressure as her lead dwindled to three strokes mid-round.

“I was, like, ‘OK, Sei-young, focus. Keep going’,” she said, adding that the lack of wind after three gusty days made for a tough adjustment. “Very challenging golf today.”

The 27-year-old said her assurance deserted her after a bogey at the par-three ninth, where her second shot flew the green and she chipped on and two-putted.

That erased the gain she had made with a birdie at the par-four sixth hole.

“When I turned the ninth hole, I was (feeling) a little bit of pressure before I made the birdie at 14,” Kim said, and after that “everything was good”.

Kim has now passed Shin Ji-yai on the LPGA’s all-time win list for South Korean golfers and now trails only Pak Se-ri (25) and Park In-bee (20).

Two wins in her last two starts have her feeling confident with the final Major of the pandemic-disrupted season – the Women’s US Open – coming up next month in Houston, followed by the Tour Championship in Naples, Florida.

“After a win I’ve always got the extra confidence,” she said. “I feel happy when I walk on the course.”