Golf

Kim Sei Young claims richest prize of S$2m in women’s golf

Kim Sei Young sank a 25-foot birdie putt on the final hole to win the CME Group Tour Championship and the biggest prize in women's golf, US$1.5 million (S$2.04m), in Florida yesterday morning.

After leading almost the entire tournament, Kim nearly blew it before coming through in unlikely circumstances at the par-four 18th, where her downhill putt broke to the right and trickled in.

The South Korean carded a two-under 70 to win by one stroke from England's Charley Hull, who almost stole the tournament with five birdies in the final seven holes for a 66 at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples.

Kim, 26, admitted that nerves had affected her putting down the home stretch, as she made several poor strokes while trying to avoid thinking about the record first prize.

She did not look at any leaderboards and said she was unaware the birdie putt at the last was for the win and the Race to the CME Globe title.

"I was thinking, try to make two-putt, that's my mindset," an emotional Kim said after finishing at 18-under 270 for her 10th LPGA Tour victory.

"I wanted to focus on my game. I don't want to think about other players. If I see the leaderboard, sometimes it helps, but sometimes it doesn't help my emotions.

"I didn't know that I was tied for the lead with Charley. After I made the putt and saw the leaderboard, I was so surprised that Charley was 17 under."

Hull, barely an afterthought until her late charge, nearly gatecrashed the party with birdies at the final three holes, including a 10-footer at the last after a superb eight-iron approach shot.

Americans Danielle Kang (65) and Nelly Korda (71) were also in contention, eventually finishing two shots behind the winner.

Kim is the fourth Korean to reach double-digit LPGA victories, joining Pak Se Ri (25), Park In Bee (19) and Shin Ji Yai (11).

All of her 10 victories have come since 2015, and nobody on tour has won more often during that period.

Her win capped off another dominant year for South Koreans, who have ruled women's golf for the best part of two decades. They combined to win 15 of 32 LPGA tournaments in 2019, with Ko Jin Young leading the way with four victories.

Ko won the money list and also collected the Vare Trophy for the lowest scoring average of 69.06. Only Annika Sorenstam has scored better. - REUTERS

Luka Doncic outguns James Harden in battle of sharp-shooters

Slovenia's Luka Doncic continued his otherworldly start to the NBA season, scoring 41 points as the Dallas Mavericks won their fifth straight game with a 137-123 victory over the slumping Houston Rockets yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Doncic, whose remarkable start has his game average at near triple-double levels, also had 10 assists and six rebounds.

Rockets star James Harden finished with 32 points and 11 assists in a showdown of dominant scorers.

The 20-year-old's fellow European sidekick Kristaps Porzingis, of Latvia, also recorded a double-double with 23 points and 13 rebounds.

Heading into the contest, Doncic was averaging 33.3 points, 10.8 rebounds and 11.0 assists during the Mavericks' five-game streak - which included back-to-back 40 point-plus victories over Cleveland and Golden State. -AFP

SELECTED RESULTS: LA Clippers 134 New Orleans 109, Washington 106 Sacramento 113.

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