Kim cards scorching 62 to beat Ko by five shots

South Korean Kim Sei Young posing for a selfie after winning the JTBC Founders Cup at the Wildfire Golf Club. The win gives her confidence for a first Major crown in two weeks.
South Korean Kim Sei Young posing for a selfie after winning the JTBC Founders Cup at the Wildfire Golf Club. The win gives her confidence for a first Major crown in two weeks.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LOS ANGELES • South Korea's Kim Sei Young matched Annika Sorenstam's 15-year-old record for the lowest 72-hole score in LPGA history on Sunday, firing a 10-under 62 to win the Founders Cup.

The 23-year-old from Seoul totalled 261 over the Phoenix, Arizona layout to match the mark set by Swedish legend Sorenstam to win the 2001 Standard Register Ping tournament at Moon Valley Country Club, also in Phoenix.

"It's a dream come true," Kim said. "Today scoring 10 under, it was my best score ever."

Kim, who also matched the course record, had a chance to break the mark on the final hole - and match the best final round in LPGA history - but came up short on a 12-foot birdie putt and tapped in to tie the record.

World No. 1 Lydia Ko of New Zealand made a late charge to finish second on 266 with American Jacqui Concolino third on 268. Third-round leader Ji Eun Hee faltered with a 71 to tie for fourth with four others on 269.

The victory will provide Kim a lift with the year's first Major, the ANA Inspiration at Rancho Mirage, only two weeks away.

"Last couple of tournaments, I lost my confidence," she said. "After this tournament, it has come back and I'm most happy for that."

Sorenstam fired the all-time LPGA low 18-hole round of 59 during her record run 15 years ago.

Kim opened this week with a 63, making nine birdies without a bogey, and followed with rounds of 66 and 70. Last year's LPGA Rookie of the Year advanced from seventh to fifth in the world rankings with the victory, enhancing her chances of a place at the Rio Olympics.

She won three times last season - at the Bahamas Classic, Lotte Championship in Hawaii and Blue Bay in China - and had her best Major finish with a runner-up effort at the Women's PGA Championship.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 22, 2016, with the headline 'Kim cards scorching 62 to beat Ko by five shots'. Print Edition | Subscribe