Kim Soo-ji wins Hanwha Classic crown and autumn crown
On the eve of fall, “Autumn Queen” Kim Soo-ji wins a significant title and the Hanwha Classic.
‘Autumn Queen’ Kim Soo-ji has soared as she enters the threshold of fall.
Kim shot a 6-under 66 in the final round of the Hanwha Classic, the third major of the Korean Ladies Professional Golf Association (KLPGA) Tour season, on Sunday at Jade Palace Golf Club (par-72) in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province, to top the leaderboard with a four-round total of 13-under 275.
Kim’s three-stroke victory over Ataya Thititjerin (Thailand) and Lee Ye-won (South Korea) was her fifth career title in 11 months after winning the Hana Financial Group Championship in October last year.
It was her second major title after winning the Hite Jinro Championship in 2021.
With the $306 million prize money, Kim moved up to sixth on the money list ($554.86 million).
After bursting onto the scene in 2021 with two major titles, including the HITE JINRO Championship, Kim has been nicknamed the “Autumn Queen” for winning her last four titles in September and October.
Last year, she swept the top 10 in all eight tournaments in September and October, including back-to-back wins, and took home the grand prize and the top stroke average.
This year, Kim had five top-10 finishes in 15 tournaments before this one, but she didn’t perform as well as expected, slipping to 27th on the money list.
Her game was still good enough to rank fourth on the money list, but she just couldn’t get over the hump.
Last year, however, Kim made a comeback by finishing tied for third at the event, which ended on August 28, the last day of the fall season, and on a day when the temperatures were much cooler, she recorded her first win of the season with a four-hole birdie streak.
“I’m going to compete for the individual title,” said Kim, who cried after failing to live up to expectations in the first half of the season. I also want to win the prize money,” she said.
“I was looking forward to this tournament because there was a cool breeze blowing from the practice rounds,” said Kim, who also welcomed the title of ‘Autumn Queen’.
Kim, who entered the final round tied for the lead with Jeon, dropped a stroke on the fourth hole (par-5) when she left her chip shot long around a not-so-difficult green.
After losing the lead to Lee, who birdied the first and third holes, Kim holed a 6-meter birdie putt at the fifth (par-3).
She dropped another stroke at the seventh (par-3), but it was hard to be optimistic about her chances.
Last year’s U.S. Women’s Professional Golf (LPGA) Tour Rookie of the Year Tee Tzu-jeong, who was playing as an invitee, was on her heels, and Jeon and Lee didn’t back down, so it was a four-way tie for the lead at one point.
On the 10th hole (par-4), where she could get her ball on the green in one tee shot, Soo Ji Kim made her move.
She hit the green with her driver and, while she didn’t make the eagle putt, she made an easy birdie.
Buoyed by her momentum, Kim made birdie putts of 2 meters on the 11th (par-4), 7 meters on the 12th (par-4) and 2 meters on the 13th (par-5) to take a two-stroke lead.
“I missed a birdie on the ninth hole, so I thought I couldn’t go on like this, so I took control on the 10th hole,” said Kim.
On the 12th hole, Kim couldn’t hide her disappointment when her second shot was shorter than she thought it would be, but when she made the birdie putt, she pumped her fist in the air in celebration.
Lee lost momentum with a bogey on the ninth (par-4) and could no longer keep up, while Jeon bogeyed the 14th (par-4) and 16th (par-4) to fall out of contention.
By the time Kim made four consecutive birdies, the tee-timer was already out of the match and posed no threat to Kim.
Kim came close on the 17th hole (par-4) when she left her long birdie putt ridiculously short, but she drained a 3-meter par putt to virtually seal the victory.
Kim sank a 6-meter birdie putt on the final 18th (par-5) to seal the victory.
“After I teed off on the 17th hole, I saw the gap (two strokes) between me and second place, so I felt more comfortable playing the 18th hole,” said Kim.
Thititjaram shot a course-record 8-under-par 64 to finish in a tie for second place.
She broke the tournament’s 18-hole record, 카지노사이트킴 set by Jessica Koda (USA) and Ji-Hyun Oh (KOR) in 2017, by one stroke.
Lee carded six birdies for a 5-under 67 and moved into first place on the money list ($893,338).
Jeon Ye-sung shot a 2-under 70 to finish in a tie for fourth place (9-under 279).
Park Min-ji shaved three strokes off her score to finish in a tie for eighth place (5-under par 283).