In-Kyung Kim of South Korea won the Ricoh Women’s British Open for her first major title at Kingsbarns Golf Links near St Andrews on Sunday, but it was far from the procession that many had predicted.
Kim began the day with a six-stroke lead after posting a record 54-hole total of 17-under-par, but England’s Jodi Ewart Shadoff came storming through the field with a women’s course-record equalling eight-under-par 64 to set the clubhouse target at 16-under and get within two strokes of the leader.
Kim, normally known for her incredible putting, birdied the first and eighth holes but her momentum stalled with a three-putt bogey on the ninth hole and she came home with nine pars to win by two strokes.
With rounds of 65, 68, 66 and 71, the 29-year-old from Seoul finished with a total of 18-under-par 270 to claim her fourth Ladies European Tour title and her 10th professional win in total, worth £387,996.
She said afterwards: “I feel quite uplifted, I have to say because I really didn’t expect to win this week. And having the lead and then going into the last round, was a great task. Yeah, I think I managed it quite well.
“Actually, today, it was hard, the pin positions. A lot of them were on the back and with my shot-making, it wasn’t easy to get to the hole. But I’ve seen the score along the way and it was kind of good to see somebody going low, and I thought it kind of encouraged me to move forward with maybe birdie opportunities for myself, as well.
“I think it’s quite an experience. I really — not only because I play well, but I think the scenery is amazing here. Also, I played last week at Dundonald, and it really prepared me for this week I think. The condition was very difficult. It was like 40 miles an hour every day.”
Ewart Shadoff was delighted with her career best finish after posting eight birdies in damp and rainy conditions. The 29-year-old, originally from Yorkshire, picked up her first stroke at the second and then made five straight birdies from the sixth hole, before making further gains at the 13th and 17th.
She said: “I didn’t think starting the day that I would have a shot. IK was way ahead, and I just started out really strong. Holed a great putt on the first hole, which I think set the tone for the day, for par, and then just my putting was really on fire. I had a great stretch in the middle of the round to get me going. I just saw myself at the start of the round just take the opportunities when I get them and that’s what I did.
“I’ve really just been able to control my ball flight in the wind. It helped last week at The Scottish Open with the wind and the conditions. I’ve been working with David Leadbetter for a couple years now, and he’s really just helped me understand my swing better and control my ball flight. I think this week, the key was putting. I just holed a lot of putts and I’m feeling really confident.”
England’s Georgia Hall also sealed her Solheim Cup spot with a tie for third place, alongside Michelle Wie and Caroline Masson on 13-under. Wie made seven birdies in her first 12 holes but faded with a bogey at the 17th.
Hall, 21, from Bournemouth, said: “I’m very happy really. Tied third is more than kind of what I expected. I kind of think 16 and 17 yesterday killed me for the chances of winning it. But I tried my best today. The weather was terrible. There was a lot of rain and stuff, and I had to cope with that. I played good golf this week. I think some shots could have been better. I made a couple of silly mistakes but coming third and still playing well, yeah, that’s the main thing.”
England’s Sophie Lamb won the Smyth Salver as the leading amateur, after rounds of 69, 71, 73 and 69 for a total of six-under-par, to share 30th position. The 19-year-old from Clitheroe Golf Club in Lancashire credited her boyfriend, the noted amateur golfer Marco Penge, who was on her bag.
The next LET event is The Solheim Cup, which will take place in Des Moines, Iowa, on August 18-20, in two weeks.