Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images
By Keely Levins
Sei Young Kim said it was the best she had played in her life. After four rounds at the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic, it turned out to be a lot more than just her personal best.
Kim finished the event at 31 under, setting multiple LPGA records in the process. After 54 holes, she was 24 under, which tied Annika Sorenstam’s record for lowest 54-hole total in relation to par. The 72-hole record was 27-under par, also held by Sorenstam, which Kim tied back in 2016. But now, instead of sharing that record with one of the greatest female players of all time, Kim holds the record all by herself.
“Just before starting I just setting my goals bogey-free round,” said Kim. “I did today, so I’m very happy with another good round.” She said when she was young, she’d never have thought she’d set the 72-hole scoring record.
Kim, who earned Rookie of the Year honors in 2015, was automatic at Thornberry Creek at Oneida, near Green Bay, Wisc., shooting rounds of 63-65-64-65. The 25-year-old from South Korea missed only five greens over four days, and the only over-par score she made was a double bogey at the 17th during the second round. She set a new record for the most sub-par holes in a tournament with 32. (The previous record was 30, held by Lexi Thompson, Brittany Lincicome and Gerina Piller.) By making only one mistake in 72 holes, Kim was uncatchable: the closest competitor was Carlota Ciganda, who finished at 22 under. In a tie for third at 20 under was Anna Nordqvist and rookie Emma Talley.
This marks the seventh time Kim has been crowned a winner on the LPGA Tour, but it’s her first win in the 2018 season. After a disappointing finish in the previous week’s event, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, Kim said she took to YouTube to work on her mental game.
“I kept thinking about it, What’s wrong with me? I just had ask to somebody but that’s not right answer, so getting to the YouTube, how to make the mind stronger,” said Kim after her third round.
The unconventional mental performance lessons paid off. Not only is she a winner and a record holder, with the $300,000 winner’s check, she passed the $5 million career earnings mark.