Sei Young Kim shows plenty of fight to win LPGA Mediheal Championship in playoff

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Sei Young Kim shows plenty of fight to win LPGA Mediheal Championship in playoff

LPGA Tour

Sei Young Kim shows plenty of fight to win LPGA Mediheal Championship in playoff

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Sei Young Kim has won tournaments in spectacular, sometimes record-breaking fashion. Sunday at the LPGA Mediheal Championship at Lake Merced Golf Club in Daly City, Calif., wasn’t pretty for Kim, but in a way that might prove even more satisfying in the end.

After clinching her eighth career title in a three-way playoff and being doused in alcohol, Kim covered her face with her hands in what had to be a moment of disbelief. She adjusted the sunglasses on the back of her head, smiled broadly and let out a “Woooow.”

She’d opened with a double-bogey/bogey to shoot 75 in the final round, yet still came out on top, improving her playoff record to 4-0. All four of Kim’s playoff victories came on the first extra hole. A black belt in Taekwondo, Kim doesn’t back down from a fight.

With many comparing Lake Merced to major championship-like conditions, this victory might bode well for the major-less Kim.

Bronte Law, a gritty young English player with a 5-0 record at the 2016 Curtis Cup, teed off more than two hours before the final group and caught fire in the middle of her round, playing a stretch of nine holes in 7 under to shoot 65. It was enough to send the former UCLA stand-out into extra holes for the first time on the LPGA.

“I think when I’m on a run, I’m on a run,” said Law, “and I will just keep going and pushing and pushing.”

Law had to change her flight home to see if she’d get a chance at her first LPGA title.

Jeongeun Lee, a rookie from South Korea who has yet to finish worse than T-16 in four months on the LPGA, closed with a 67 to make her way into the playoff, which started on the par-5 18th.

Earlier in the week, Lake Merced unveiled a plaque on the 18thhole where Lydia Ko hit the 3-wood of her life last year to clinch a playoff victory over Minjee Lee. Ko, a three-time winner at the club, is an honorary member.

Lee’s ball bounced right over Ko’s plaque in overtime. While she was the only player to reach the green in two during the playoff, her ensuing three-putt kept her out of the winner’s circle.

Sei Young Kim’s playoff drive landed a foot away from the divot she took in regulation play on the 18th. Her approach in the playoff was again nearly identical to regulation. Kim (again) putted from off the green, ultimately draining a 4-footer for birdie that gave the 26-year-old a victory for a fifth consecutive season.

“It was really tough,” said Kim, the 2015 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year.“My position in the last, the whole day I got a lot of pressure.”

Lexi Thompson felt a different kind of pressure earlier in the week when a break from social media turned into a media frenzy as some presumed the hiatus was because of backlash from a recent round of golf with President Donald Trump.

Thompson, who missed the cut last week in Los Angeles, wound up two shots out of the playoff.

With two weeks off in her immediate future, Thompson said she might go to the Bahamas for a bit.

“I have my little nephew’s birthday this weekend,” she said of upcoming plans. “And just continue to work on my game, and train in the gym, and the same old stuff, just keep on improving, but at the same time have fun.”

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