03 May 2021: It was a final day unlike any other in Singapore for the HSBC Women’s World Championship. Eleven of the top-12 players heading into Sunday were already LPGA Tour winners, with 60 victories between them and 17 major championship titles. Among them, five shots out of the 54-hole lead, was Hyo Joo Kim. Kim was looking to improve upon a third-round that featured six birdies, six pars and six bogeys.
“Those six bogeys I made were short putts missed. Usually I’m very confident with my putter. So I just tried to focus when I needed to make the short putts, and I think that it’s concentration that makes the difference,” said Kim through a translator. It certainly was the difference for the 25-year-old on Sunday, as she recorded her lowest 18 holes since the 2019 Amundi Evian Championship with a bogey-free 64 to earn the fourth title of her LPGA Tour career and first since 2016.
Kim carded four birdies in the last five holes of her front nine to make the turn at -13, putting her right in contention with the likes of major champions Hannah Green and Inbee Park, who were a few holes behind in the final grouping. Kim continued to capitalize in her back nine, making birdies on Nos. 11, 12, 14 and 15, and then awaited the final groups as she sat on the clubhouse lead at -17.
Green, sitting two strokes back of Kim’s lead heading into the 14th hole, holed out to make her second eagle of the week and then birdied No. 16 to take a one-shot lead. But, a disastrous end brought the Australian back down to Earth as she bogeyed her final two holes and played herself out of her third-career win.
“I didn’t really feel like I was in it until I holed the shot on 14. That was a nice way to get my momentum. Made a really good putt on 16 to make birdie, but obviously pretty disappointed to have two 3-putts finishing. Felt a little nerves on the last, which is nice, because I guess having the spectators out there it kind of meant something to me,” said Green, who ultimately finished in solo second at -16. “So I’m obviously very close, so I just hope that I can continue this momentum and who knows, have a good result next week.”
Kim watched on a tv in the players’ lounge as she realized she won, and was then thoroughly sprayed with a champagne shower by friends. “My goal this year was to get a win, and I’m glad I already achieved that,” said Kim. “While I was playing on the KLPGA Tour last year, I honed my skills and wanted to adapt them to this year on the LPGA, and I’m very happy that these results came out.”
Patty Tavatanakit, who fired a final-round 65, along with Inbee Park and Xiyu Lin finished in a tie for third at -15. So Yeon Ryu’s second-straight 70 was enough for a sixth-place finish at -12, with Carlota Ciganda, In Gee Chun, Lydia Ko and Gaby Lopez rounding out the top-10 in a tie for seventh at -11. Defending champion Sung Hyun Park finished the event in a tie for 57th at +5.