If nothing else, Sung Ah Yim always will have this story to tell the grandkids – about the day she stared down Annika Sorenstam, and the world’s No. 1 player wilted.
Yim, 22, a part-time university student in her second year on tour, trailed Sorenstam by one entering the final round of the Florida’s Natural Charity Championship and played in the final group with the Swede.
And for once, Sorenstam faltered, struggling to a 3-over 75 and a late double bogey that left her in a three-way tie for second with Karrie Webb (70) and Cristie Kerr (69), two shots behind Yim.
Sorenstam had won 11 consecutive events with a lead going to the final round — a streak that dated to the 2004 Evian Masters.
“It was not a very good day for me,” said Sorenstam, who won this event by 10 shots a year ago. “I didn’t play well at all. I just want to forget about this day as quickly as possible.”
Yim, on the other hand, will remember it for a while. It was the first professional victory for the Korean, who did everything she needed to hold off three of the biggest names in women’s golf – three players who have combined to win 104 LPGA titles, 67 by Sorenstam.
Yim got up and down from the fringe on three consecutive holes before knocking in a 4-foot birdie putt at the
par-5 18th to finish with an even-par 72 and a 16-under 272 total.
“I was very, very nervous,” Yim said. “I could hear my heart beating. . . . I can’t believe it right now. I’m screaming inside.”
While this was a breakthrough week for Yim, who opened with rounds of
68-64-68, she did get a little unexpected help from the unlikeliest of sources.
Tied for the lead heading to the final two holes, Sorenstam made double bogey on the par-4 17th, sending her tee shot into the trees along the right side of the fairway and out of bounds.
“One of my worst swings of the week,” Sorenstam said. “Bad timing.”
And the Swede’s putting was atrocious, with at least five misses of 6 feet or less. The last of those came on the 17th, where she had a chance to save bogey but missed a 5-footer.
“Sometimes, it doesn’t go your way,” Sorenstam said. “I hit a few bad shots, a few bad putts, and it just accumulated.
“There’s not much to say other than it was a horrible day.”