Golf

It’s Kim Hyo-joo’s title as Hannah Green fades

World No. 9 ends title drought at HSBC Women's World C'ship after rival's bogeys

Her scorecard last Saturday saw a mix of six bogeys and six birdies.

Starting yesterday's final round of the HSBC Women's World Championship five shots behind overnight leader Lin Xiyu of China, Kim Hyo-joo was hardly the clear favourite for the title at the Sentosa Golf Club.

But the 25-year-old South Korean's steady performance - which saw her rack up eight birdies for a bogey-free eight-under 64 - helped her clinch the title and the US$240,000 (S$319,000) winner's cheque by a single stroke.

Australia's Hannah Green had led towards the latter stages, but she faltered with bogeys on the last two holes to hand the title to Kim, who had carded pars over 17 and 18 to register a 17-under 271 total.

"My goal for this year is to get a win and I'm glad I achieved that today," said world No. 9 Kim, whose last victory was in 2016 when she won the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic.

"I have not won for such a long time and this really feels like my first win."

Kim had made a slow start with pars on the first four holes. But she registered four birdies over the next five to storm up the leaderboard.

Continuing her relentless chase for her fourth LPGA Tour victory, Kim recorded another pair of birdies on holes 11 and 12, parred the 13th and reeled in two more birdies on 14 and 15 to share the lead with Green at 17-under.

A 15-foot putt at the 16th secured another birdie that took Green, the 2019 Women's PGA Championship winner, into the lead, only for her to drop back into a tie with Kim when she three-putted the 17th hole.

WORSE TO COME

There was worse to come for the Australian at the final hole when, needing only a par to take proceedings into a two-hole play-off, she sent her approach off the back edge of the green.

Her first attempt raced well past the hole and, after taking two attempts to sink the ball from there, the world No. 14 slipped back into second to hand Kim the victory.

Green conceded nerves got the better of her.

"I'm pretty disappointed to have two three-putts in the finishing holes. I was feeling nervous," said the 24-year-old.

"But I came very close to winning, so I just hope that I can continue this momentum and who knows, have a good result next week."

Lin, who started the round with a one-shot lead, signed off with a 71 to finish joint-third alongside South Korea's Olympic gold medallist Park Inbee and Thailand's Patty Tavatanakit on 273.

The other two medallists from the 2016 Rio Games, New Zealand's Lydia Ko and China's Feng Shanshan, were also in Singapore but fared worse.

Ko posted a final-round 71 to finish tied-seventh while Feng was joint-43rd in the 69-strong field. - AFP, REUTERS

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