Sei Young Kim last woman standing at exciting Lorena Ochoa Match Play

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Sei Young Kim last woman standing at exciting Lorena Ochoa Match Play

LPGA Tour

Sei Young Kim last woman standing at exciting Lorena Ochoa Match Play

MEXICO CITY – Mexican fans were spoiled at Club de Golf Mexico. Five matches in all took place on a final day that overflowed with delight and drama.

Sei Young Kim wore the winner’s sombrero at the Lorena Ochoa Match Play after defeating Ariya Jutanugarn on the 18th green. She embraced South Korea’s pioneering legend, Se Ri Pak during the closing ceremony, one of the many special moments provided by host Lorena Ochoa.

Hundreds of fans walked 18 holes with the Hall of Famers exhibition match, which took place in between the semifinal and championship rounds. This time Ochoa paired with Annika Sorenstam in a best-ball format (that they counted as stroke play to ensure it reached the 18th) against Pak and Juli Inkster. The four legends have never looked more relaxed on a golf course. Ochoa, who will be officially inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in September, called the experience a dream come true.

“This is a weekend I will remember for the rest of my life,” Ochoa said. “And even though my kids are too little, I will explain it to them. I promise.”

For the record, Ochoa and Sorenstam finished 5 under for the round, four ahead of the competition.

Even Michelle Wie’s consolation match against M.J. Hur proved enthralling. After Wie hit the flagstick on the 20th hole, nearly jarring it, Hur chipped in from the front of the green for birdie. The pair ultimately went 22 holes before Hur won on a brutal lipout for par from Wie.

“After she chipped it in it was pretty close, but it was still downhill,” said Hur, “and I had a putt from there too. It didn’t look easy so I didn’t give it to her. We had already played 21 holes so I thought maybe she wasn’t very focused, and she missed it by nothing. But it’s match play, so I’m sorry Michelle.”

Wie, the last American standing in Mexico, earned 27 Solheim Cup points for the effort.

Kim’s road to the final match included victories over Maude-Aimee LeBlanc, Danielle Kang, Charley Hull, Karine Icher and Hur. Kim trailed only four holes in her first five matches; Jutanugarn trailed in one.

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In the championship match, Kim played the first three holes in 4 under, setting up a commanding 3-hole lead over Jutanugarn. Kim maintained that lead for most of the match. A birdie from Jutanugarn on the 14th hole, coupled with an errant tee shot on the 17th from Kim that sailed out of bounds, sent Kim down the 18th hole with a 1-up lead.

“I tried to stay calmed but I really couldn’t,” said Kim, “my hands were shaking, my legs were shaking too, it was really hard to keep calm.”

With Jutanugarn only 5 feet away for birdie on the 18th, Kim prepared herself for overtime.

Only the putt didn’t drop.

A shocked Kim had clinched her sixth career LPGA title, calling it her most difficult victory to date. This coming from a player who won three of those LPGA titles via playoff.

“It was a really tough day today,” said Kim. “I never had such a hard win like today.”

While Kim and company grinded for trophies and oversized checks, the legends hammed it up. Fans were reminded just how much the joyful Ochoa is missed on the LPGA, and she offered hope of a possible return.

The former World No. 1 was pleased with her iron play after only practicing for a couple weeks, and left the door open to potentially playing in a couple LPGA events next year.

“I was talking today, maybe next summer we can play two events or do something together,” said Ochoa. “So, you’ll see, you’ll hear from me. I’ll be around, I promise.”

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