I.K. Kim ends agonising wait for maiden major title

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I.K. Kim avenged her heartbreaking loss at the 2012 Kraft Nabisco Championship by clinching her maiden major title at the 2017 Ricoh Women's British Open.

The 29-year-old, who missed a 1ft putt at Mission Hills Country Club to win in regulation before losing out in a play-off to fellow South Korean Sun-Young Yoo, produced an incredibly steady round of golf in dismal conditions to prevail by two shots from Jodi Ewart Shadoff.

Kim started the day six shots clear of England's Georgia Hall and Thailand's Moriya Jutanugarn - sister of last year's champion Ariya - and got off to the best possible start with a birdie at the opening hole.

She reached the turn in one-under-par and, as first Michelle Wie and then Ewart Shadoff attempted to chase her down, Kim remained unfazed with her rivals unable to get any closer than the final two-shot margin.

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"I feel quite uplifted," said Kim, who now has three LPGA Tour wins to her name this season. "I have to say because that I really didn't expect to win this week."

Asked about whether this major win had got the monkey off her back from 2012, Kim replied: "You keep asking, but that's okay. When I won in China last year, after I hadn't won for six years, I was asked, 'Do you dream about this putt all the time?' It was an unhappy feeling and my friend said that I would always be asked that.

"Then I realised I'd always be asked the question, and I was actually okay with it. In interviews it's okay, but I've had some strangers cry in front of me about it and I didn't know how to react to those.

"But I feel like things happen to help, you know. Missing a putt is not the worst thing that could happen in life, and that's how I look at it. When I make a three-footer, I'm quite rewarded now. I think that's the reason that I finished today."

Jodi Ewart Shadoff

Ewart Shadoff shoots 64 but falls short

Ewart Shadoff was one of only two players - along with Michelle Wie - who got to within five shots of Kim all day. The 29-year-old from Northallerton made five birdies in a row from the sixth to tenth holes and, after a birdie at the 17th to get to 16-under, another at the final hole could have made things interesting.

But the US-based player couldn't manage it but still matched the course record set by Michelle Wie on Thursday and Inbee Park on Sunday to secure her best major finish and cement her place in the European Solheim Cup team.

“I didn't think starting the day that I would have a shot,” admitted Ewart Shadoff. “I.K. was way ahead but I just started out really strong. I holed a great putt on the first hole which set the tone for the day and then my putter was on fire.

"I missed the cut last week at the Scottish Open, so my confidence wasn't that high coming into this week. So it's been a huge shift of confidence for me, and I'm excited to go and play matchplay in the Solheim Cup."

Sophie Lamb

Lamb wins Smyth Salver

While the battle for the Ricoh Women’s British Open title never looked to be heading away from Kim’s grasp, there was a ding-dong battle for the Smyth Salver – the prize awarded to the leading amateur.

It was between English star Sophie Lamb and Ireland’s Leona Maguire – who won the award last year – and it was Lamb who came out on top in her tournament debut.

She finished in T31 on six-under-par and, after coming through a play-off on the Monday night qualifier to make the tournament, she was delighted with how she performed.

“It's all been crazy,” she said. “It's something everyone dreams of when they first play golf. It's been a great experience for me to see where my game compares to the best in the world.”

Michelle Wie

Key quotes

Michelle Wie (-13): “I just wanted to give myself an opportunity today and I'm really proud of myself for giving myself that. I felt like if a couple of those putts coming in had gone in, I would have had a chance. But I'm proud of myself for how I played this year.”

Georgia Hall (-13): "I'm very happy. Tied third is more than what I expected. I think 16 and 17 yesterday killed me for the chances of winning it. But I tried my best today and this week showed I can definitely compete with the best."

Lexi Thompson (-10): “It was a good week. Besides yesterday, I played great golf and today I played really good. I hit it well and made some good putts. Overall, there are many positives from this week.”

Charley Hull (-8): “I feel like my game is in good condition and I feel like I'm going to have a good few weeks coming up. I'm buzzing now for the Solheim Cup. I think it should be fun back in America. I prefer playing it when it's in America, actually. The crowds are pretty big out there, so I enjoy it.”

Moment of the day

Well, it was the moment that clinched the Ricoh Women's British Open for Kim with her stunning second shot into the 17th green.

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