Asian golfers on top of the pile

Kim attributes win to a strong mental game after her 2012 Kraft Nabisco C’ship setback

South Korea's Kim In Kyung celebrating after winning her first Major title at the Women's British Open on Sunday. She defeated England's Jodi Ewart Shadoff by two shots at Kingsbarns Golf Links.
South Korea's Kim In Kyung celebrating after winning her first Major title at the Women's British Open on Sunday. She defeated England's Jodi Ewart Shadoff by two shots at Kingsbarns Golf Links.PHOTO: REUTERS

ST ANDREWS (Britain) • After blowing a great chance to win her first Major championship in 2012, Kim In Kyung was not going to make the same mistake twice.

The South Korean held her nerve to shoot a final-round 71 for an 18-under 270 total on Sunday, beating England's Jodi Ewart Shadoff by two shots to claim the Women's British Open at Kingsbarns Golf Links.

Five years ago, she famously missed a one-foot putt on the final hole at the Kraft Nabisco Championship (renamed the ANA Inspiration since 2015), only to lose the subsequent play-off in a traumatic experience that she has fought hard to come to terms with.

The key has been working on her mental game.

"I was disappointed after 2012 when I made that mistake and criticised myself a lot. Now I'm nicer to myself on and off the golf course and have more compassion and gentleness with myself," she said.

"I didn't have too much fear and just gave my best. It's been a long process to get over 2012. A lot of people helped me. Now I enjoy playing golf again. What it did teach me is to give the same effort to every shot, even the shortest of putts."

Six ahead at the start of the day, the 29-year-old looked to have it easy when she moved seven in front after a tap-in birdie at the par-three opening hole. But she had to fend off the chasing pack.

GIVING IT HER BEST SHOT

I didn't have too much fear and just gave my best. It's been a long process to get over 2012... What it did teach me is to give the same effort to every shot, even the shortest of putts.''

KIM IN KYUNG, newly crowned Women's British Open champion, on what she learnt while trying to get over her 2012 Kraft Nabisco Championship mistake, which cost her the title.

Michelle Wie was the first to attack with four birdies in a row from the fourth hole and then Ewart Shadoff - with a course record-equalling 64 - did her very best to knock Kim off her stride.

Just two ahead with four holes to play, the South Korean reeled off the par figures to secure the trophy.

As well as her 2012 Kraft Nabisco heartbreak, where she went on to lose to compatriot Yoo Sun Young, she also finished as the runner-up in the US Women's Open that year.

Ewart Shadoff had a birdie at the second hole on Sunday, five in a row from the sixth hole and then more at the 13th hole and the horrendously tough 17th hole, and then it was a case of wait and see.

In the end, she had to settle for second place.

"In these conditions I couldn't have asked for anything better," said the 29-year-old Briton.

"The weather was tough and not to drop a shot was special. I had a lot of confidence in my putting."

Wie closed with a 66 and a 275 total. She shared third place with Germany's Carolina Masson (67) and England's Georgia Hall (70).

But the day belonged to Kim. Her solid final round contained two birdies - at the first and eighth holes - and the solitary bogey at the ninth hole ended a remarkable run of 43 holes without a dropped shot.

"The birdie at the first was a bit lucky, but I hit some really great shots today. I almost cried when I won. Winning is great," she said.

THE TIMES, LONDON, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 08, 2017, with the headline 'Kim attributes win to a strong mental game after her 2012 Kraft Nabisco C’ship setback'. Print Edition | Subscribe