PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AFP) – South Korean rookie Kim Sei-Young won a playoff Sunday to capture the Bahamas LPGA Classic while teen Lydia Ko kept the world’s top ranking, foiling a number-one bid by Park In-Bee.
Kim sank a five-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole to reach the playoff, then followed with a six-foot birdie putt on the same 18th green on the first extra hole to defeat Thai teen Ariya Jutanugarn and compatriot Yoo Sun-Young and win the crown in only her second US tour appearance.
Kim, 22 and a three-time winner on the Korean Tour, fired a five-under par 68 in the final round to join Jutanugarn and Yoo on 14-under 278 and force a playoff on the par-5 18th hole.
Yoo, who won a major title at the 2012 Kraft Nabisco Championship, found a greenside bunker with her playoff approach while 19-year-old Jutanugarn put her approach in the left rough. Kim then blasted her second shot to the back edge of the green.
Jutanugarn and Yoo chipped onto the green to set up birdie putts while Kim left a 30-foot eagle bid six feet short. Yoo and Jutanugarn settled for pars and Kim followed by sinking her pressure-packed putt for the victory, raising her right arm in celebration.
Kim opened her round with a birdie and had three in her first five holes. She answered a bogey at the eighth by starting the back nine with a birdie and a birdie at 14 set the stage for the one at 18 that put her in the playoff.
American Brittany Lincicome was fourth on 279 with South Korea’s Park and American Danielle Kang on 280 and New Zealand’s Ko joined by Spain’s Azahara Munoz and Americans Gerina Piller and Lexi Thompson on 281.