Golf: South Korea's Kim Sei Young beats Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn for Lorena Ochoa Match Play title

South Korea's 12th-ranked Kim Sei Young won the Lorena Ochoa Match Play title on Sunday (May 7).
South Korea's 12th-ranked Kim Sei Young won the Lorena Ochoa Match Play title on Sunday (May 7).PHOTO: AFP

MEXICO CITY (AFP) - South Korea's 12th-ranked Kim Sei Young edged out Thailand's third-ranked Ariya Jutanugarn 1-up in Sunday's final to win the Lorena Ochoa Match Play title and capture her sixth career LPGA triumph.

Kim, the 2015 LPGA Rookie of the Year, collected her first victory since last June's Meijer LPGA Classic, winning the first three holes and fighting off a late comeback to win the first LPGA matchplay event since 2012.

Ariya, who captured the first of her five LPGA titles exactly a year ago, had defeated American Michelle Wie 4&3 in the morning semi-finals while Kim downed 25th-ranked compatriot Hur Mi Jung 5&4.

Hur outlasted Wie in 22 holes in the third-place match.

Kim led after every hole all day, winning the first three holes in both her matches and holding on for victories.

She opened the final birdie-eagle-birdie to jump 3-up on Ariya with threes at the first and second and a two at the par-three third. Kim kept that lead to the turn as both women followed with six pars.

Ariya won her first hole with a par four at the 10th to pull within 2-down and both birdied to halve the par-five 11th as the tension grew.

Kim birdied the 12th, stretching her lead back to 3-up, but Ariya answered by winning the par-three 14th when Kim made bogey, trimming the lead to two with four to play.

Both parred to halve the 15th and par-three 16th, Kim lipping out a birdie putt that would have clinched the victory.

Kim then hit her tee shot wide right and out of bounds at the par-five 17th and would lose to hole to Ariya's birdie, leaving her 1-up on the 18th tee. Both parred the last and Kim had her victory.

In the third-place match, Wie leaped ahead 5-up after 10 but Hur took the next three holes then parred to win the 15th and 17th to square the match.

Both made bogeys at the 18th to force extra holes. On the 20th, Hur chipped in and Wie matched her birdie. They both parred the 18th again on the 21st hole but Wie's par putt at the 16th lipped out to hand Hur the win.

In the semi-finals, Ariya had birdied the par-five sixth and Wie lost the par-four eighth and 12th holes on bogeys. Ariya birdied the par-three 14th to go 4-up and parred the 15th to halve the hole and seal the triumph.

Hur, seeking her third career LPGA title and first since 2014, had upset world No. 1 Lydia Ko of New Zealand in the third round, ensuring Ariya could not overtake her atop the rankings for at least another week.

But she was undone from the start in the semi-finals as Kim opened birdie-eagle-par with threes on each hole to jump ahead and a birdie to win the par-five sixth for a 4-up lead.

Kim began the back nine by winning the par-four 10th with a par. Hur won her only hole with a birdie at the 12th and birdied the 13th but Kim eagled to win the 13th and matched Hur's birdie to halve the par-three 14th and close out the victory.