USGA CHAMPIONS
Kim Adds to Long List of Accolades by Girls’ Junior Champs August 7, 2017 By David Shefter, USGA

In-Kyung Kim can now count herself as a major champion, 12 years after capturing the U.S. Girls' Junior title. (USGA/Chris Keane)

In-Kyung Kim has finally exorcised her major-championship demons.

In 2012, all that stood between the 2005 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion and the ANA Inspiration title was a 14-inch putt. Kim missed it and lost the subsequent playoff to Sun-Young Yoo.

Kim won’t have to face her doubts about being able to close on the big stage again. While the 29-year-old from the Republic of Korea didn’t have her best stuff on Sunday, her 1-under-par 71 was good enough to fend off Jodi Ewart Shadoff’s final-round 64 in the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Kingsbarns in Scotland, notching a two-stroke victory after starting the day six strokes clear of the rest of the field.

2014 U.S. Women’s Open champion and first-round leader Michelle Wie (66) also made a Sunday charge, but neither her effort or Shadoff’s was enough to catch the front-running Kim, who finished at 18-under 270. Wie tied for third at 13-under 275 with Caroline Masson and 2014 Great Britain and Ireland Curtis Cup competitor Georgia Hall, of England.

This was Kim’s 10th win as a professional and third of the season on the LPGA Tour. Three weeks ago she won the Marathon Classic in Ohio and in early June she claimed the ShopRite Classic in Galloway, N.J.

“I almost cried when I won,” said Kim. “Winning is great. It’s 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 give the same effort to every shot, even the shortest of putts.”

Kim’s victory makes her the 12th U.S. Girls’ Junior champion to win a major title, and she is the third straight Girls’ Junior champion to win the Women’s British Open, following Inbee Park (2002 Girls’ Junior, 2015 Women’s British Open) and Ariya Jutanugarn (2011, 2016).Kim’s opening-round 65 left her one shot behind Wie, but after Friday’s 68 and a 66 on Saturday, she built a six-stroke cushion. All she needed to do on Sunday was avoid making big mistakes, which she accomplished, making just one bogey on the final day.. She made all pars on her inward nine.

 “I cannot describe my feelings,” said Kim. “I just tried to have some fun, but it wasn’t fun on the back nine.”

Five Champions on U.S. Solheim Cup Team

Three U.S. Women’s Open champions will be a part of the 2017 U.S. Solheim Cup Team that will look to defend the cup later this month Des Moines Golf and Country Club in West Des Moines, Iowa. Cristie Kerr (2007), Brittany Lang (2015) and Wie (2014) earned automatic selections to the 12-player squad that will be captained by five-time USGA champion Juli Inkster.

Two-time U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Danielle Kang (2010-11) and 2008 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion Lexi Thompson also were automatic selections.

Angel Yin, the runner-up in the 2015 U.S. Girls’ Junior, was a captain’s pick, along with 2012 USA Curtis Cup competitor Austin Ernst. Seven of the 12 U.S. Solheim Cup players competed in the Curtis Cup, a list that also includes Stacy Lewis (2008) and Jessica Korda (2010).

Past Great Britain and Ireland Curtis Cup players to make the European Solheim Cup Team include Hall (2014), Charley Hull (2012), Mel Reid (2006) and Shadoff (2008). Three-time U.S. Women’s Open champion Annika Sorenstam will serve as their captain.

David Shefter is the senior writer and content manager for the USGA. Email him at dshefter@usga.org.

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