ST ANDREWS, United Kingdom: Kim In-Kyung finally put her major heartbreak behind her with a final round 71 and a two-shot victory in the Women’s British Open at Kingsbarns on Sunday (Monday in Manila).
The South Korean famously threw away the 2012 ANA Inspiration when she missed a one-foot putt at the final hole.
But that is now all forgotten for the newest major champion.
“I cannot describe my feelings,” she said. “I just tried to have some fun, but it wasn’t fun on the back nine.
“I got really inspired playing in Scotland. So many people come here just to play golf and I feel so lucky. I didn’t have too much fear and just gave my best.”
She added: “It’s been a long process to get over 2012. A lot of people helped me. Now I enjoy playing golf again. What it did teach me is to to give the same effort to every shot, even the shortest of putts.”
Six ahead at the start of the day, the 29-year-old Kim looked to be in easy street when she moved seven in front after a tap-in birdie at the par three opening hole.
But she then had to fend off the chasing pack.
Michelle Wie was the first to attack with four birdies in a row from the fourth and then Jodi Ewart Shadoff — with a course record-equaling 64 — did her best to knock Kim off her stride.
Just two ahead with four holes to play, the slightly-built Korean, reeled off the par figures to secure the trophy by two shots on 18 under par 270.
As well as her 2012 ANA Inspiration heartbreak, where she went on to lose in a play-off to fellow South Korean Yoo Sun-Young, she also finished runner-up in the 2012 US Women’s Open.
Ewart Shadoff had a birdie at the second on Sunday, five in a row from the sixth and then more at the 13th and horrendously tough 17th, and then it was a case of wait and see.
In the end, she had to settle for second place on 16 under par.
“In these conditions I couldn’t have asked for anything better,” said the 29-year-old Briton.
“The weather was tough and not to drop a shot was pretty special. I had a lot of confidence in my putting.
“I’ve never really played well at links courses, but I played in the Scottish Open last week at Dundonald and that really helped. Now I’m excited about the Solheim Cup.”
Wie closed with a 66 and a 13 under par total. She shared third place with Germany’s Carolina Masson (67) and England’s Georgia Hall (70).
But the day belonged to Kim. Her solid final round contained two birdies — the first and eight — and the solitary bogey at the ninth ended a remarkable run of 43 holes without a dropped shot.
“The birdie at the first was a bit lucky, but I hit some really great shots today. I almost cried when I won, winning is great,” said the champion.
Sophie Lamb, a 19-year-old English player, won the Smyth Salver for the best amateur.
She shot a 69 for six under par — just the confidence boost she wanted as she looks forward to turning professional at the end of 2018.