golf roundup

Sei Young Kim amazes LPGA at 31 under

ONEIDA, WI - JULY 08: Sei Young Kim of Korea watches her tee shot on the third hole during the final round of the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic at Thornberry Creek at Oneida on July 8, 2018 in Oneida, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Stacy Revere/Getty Images
Sei Young Kim made history with her nine-shot victory at the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic, setting the 72-hole scoring record at 257, 31-under par.

Sei Young Kim watched her 12-foot birdie putt break toward the hole and disappear into the cup, landing her in territory no one had ever been on the LPGA Tour.

She reached 30 under par in the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic in Oneida, Wis.

And she wasn’t finished.


Kim added yet another birdie, closed with a 7-under 65 and wound up her historic week Sunday at 31 under for a nine-shot victory.

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‘‘I never thought I'd shoot 31 under,’’ Kim said. ‘‘I really feel incredible.’’

She was every bit of that in a week so dominant that she now has two LPGA scoring records all to herself.

Kim’s 31 under broke by four shots to par the record she had shared with Annika Sorenstam. Kim won the 2016 Founders Cup at 27 under, while Sorenstam won the 2001 Standard Register Ping at 27 under, the tournament where the Swede shot 59.

‘‘After the Founders Cup, I got new goals,’’ she said. ‘‘I wish I could break up the [tour] record. It’s really unbelievable.’’


Kim also set the 72-hole scoring record at 257, finishing with three straight pars to break the mark by one shot.

The 25-year-old from South Korea opened with a 63, followed with a 65, and shot a 64 on Saturday to reach 24 under, which tied Sorenstam’s 54-hole record in 2003 at the Mizuno Classic in Japan, a 54-hole event.

‘‘In a word, phenomenal,’’ said defending champion Katherine Kirk, who finished 15 under and tied for 20th. ‘‘We knew that you could go low around this golf course, but she’s taken it to a whole other level. It’s pretty exciting to watch, really. She’s going to break our all-time, 72-hole scoring record pretty easily. She’s a great player. She obviously knows how to win. She just kept the foot down.’’

The only blemish for Kim all week was a double bogey in the second round Friday. She had 31 birdies and one eagle, another record for most sub-par holes in a tournament. Kim hit 67 out of 72 greens in regulation.

For all the birdies, Kim set the LPGA record with a par on the final hole to finish at 257.


Hee Young Park won a playoff after she and Angela Stanford each finished at 258 in the Manulife Classic in Canada in 2013 (par 71), while Karen Stupples shot 258 at the Welch's/Fry’s Championship in Arizona in 2004 (par 70).

‘‘I had the double-bogey on 17. That was the only one I had where I missed the shot. It’s crazy,’’ Kim said.

She reached 28 under with a tap-in birdie on the par-5 ninth. Kim began the back nine with another birdie when her wedge from about 100 yards stopped a few feet from the hole, setting up her birdie on the 12th.

Kim won by five over Lydia Ko when she shot 27 under in the Founders Cup two years ago. Sorenstam won by two over Se Ri Pak when she shot her 27 under at Moon Valley at a tournament that no longer exists.

No one had a chance Sunday.

Kim began the final round with an eight-shot lead and was close to flawless. Amy Yang, who played with Kim in the final round, made eagle on No. 3 to get within six shots. She couldn’t keep pace, however, and made a double bogey on the par-5 15th by hitting one shot in the water and another in a hazard..

Carlota Ciganda of Spain lost a ball and made double bogey on the 18th hole for a 64 to finish alone in second, nine shots behind. Yang, with a birdie on the final hole for a 68, tied for third at 20 under with Emma Talley and Anna Nordqvist, who each had a 67.

‘‘I was thinking even not playing this tournament, going home and rest, so I'm happy the way I played,’’ Ciganda said. ‘‘Lots of birdies; lots of good shots. Today my putting was very good, so very happy with the way I played.’’

Kim won for the first time this year and joined Brooke Henderson as the only players on the tour with at least one victory in each of the last four seasons.

PGA — Kevin Na ended a nearly seven-year winless drought on the PGA Tour, shooting a 6-under 64 for a five-stroke victory at A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur springs, W. Va.

Na birdied six of his first 10 holes to open up a big lead over third-round co-leader Kelly Kraft on the Old White TPC. The 34-year-old Na cruised from there and finished at 19-under 261.

Na’s only previous tour win came in Las Vegas in October 2011.

Kraft shot 70 and finished second at 14 under.

Brandt Snedeker and Jason Kokrak tied for third at 13 under. Snedeker had a 64 and Kokrak shot 67.

Kraft, Snedeker, Kokrak, and Austin Cook earned spots in the British Open in two weeks. The leading four players not already exempt from the top-12 finishers qualified.

Phil Mickelson broke the rules again, only this time he didn’t realize it until after his violation.

Mickelson tamped down fescue grass with his foot in front of the seventh tee. He then called a two-stroke penalty on himself for improving his line of play. He finished at 1-under, tied for 65th.

At the US Open last month, Mickelson intentionally violated golf rules by hitting a moving ball on the green in the third round.

He later apologized, saying his anger and frustration got the best of him.

On Sunday’s gaffe, Mickelson says he ‘‘wasn’t really thinking.’’ After stepping on the grass, he paused before he hit his tee shot, realized the mistake and checked with a rules official, who confirmed the violation.

European — Russell Knox rolled in almost-identical birdie putts from around 40 feet on the 72nd hole and the first playoff hole to win the Irish Open in Donegal.

After Knox made birdie on No. 18 to set the clubhouse target at 14 under par, Ryan Fox missed an 8-foot birdie putt that would have won him the Rolex Series event.

They went back down the 18th hole for the playoff and Knox pitched from 131 yards to virtually the same spot on the green. His long birdie putt curled left to right and into the cup.

Fox failed to match the birdie, his putt agonizingly lipping out, and Knox put his hands to his face.

‘‘Tough to describe how amazing this feels,’’ said Knox, who shot 6-under 66 in his final round.

‘‘It’s why I play golf — all the practice days, all the misses, all the bad moments, all are taken care of with putts like that . . . Making two of them from almost identical positions. I mean, that’s a bit of a bonus. Unbelievable.’’

Knox is set to climb into the world’s top 50, having tied for second place at the French Open last week, and is fifth in the Race to Dubai. He has boosted his chances of making Europe’s Ryder Cup team for the match against the United States in France in September.

Fox, who had a 68, secured a place in the British Open at Carnoustie, Scotland, later this month.

Jorge Campillo (65) was in third place, a shot further back, and defending champion Jon Rahm was in a share of fourth after a 66.

Rory McIlroy shot 71 and was 2 under overall.