17 Jun 2024 | Professional golf |

Aussies on Tour: Kim comes up just short in LPGA playoff

by Tony Webeck

Grace Kim Meijer LPGA Classic
Grace Kim fought to the very end before losing in a playoff at the Meijer LPGA Classic. Photo: Raj Mehta/Getty Images

Sydney’s Grace Kim has suffered a heartbreaking playoff defeat to be denied a second LPGA Tour win at the Meijer LPGA Classic in Michigan.

Kim began the final round at Blythefield Country Club with a five-stroke lead, an advantage that had been erased completely by the time she stepped onto the fifth tee.

As American Ally Ewing strung four straight birdies together from the third hole, Kim stumbled out of the blocks with back-to-back bogeys.

She matched Ewing’s birdie on six to retain a share of the lead yet her greatest challengers would emerge from back-nine charges by Lilia Vu and Lexi Thompson.

Vu’s bogey-free 7-under 65 would be the best of the day and allowed her to set the clubhouse mark at 16-under par.

Thompson (68) played the back nine in 4-under to also reach 16-under par as 23-year-old Kim showed impressive composure to stay in contention.

She dropped to 15-under with a bogey on nine but made birdie at the par-5 14th and numerous par saves to arrive at the 72nd hole tied for the lead.

A tee shot into the fairway bunker at the par-5 closer forced Kim to lay up and she had a lengthy putt from the back fringe to win in regulation.

That attempt just missed on the low side to close out a round of 1-oover 73, Thompson’s closing birdie sending all three players back to the 18th tee.

Again, Kim had a putt to win at the first playoff hole with an eagle try from just off the front edge of the green but had to hole a three-footer for birdie to match by both Thompson and Vu.

At the second playoff hole, Kim needed to hole a six-footer to stay in the playoff but an awkward lie right of the fairway and subsequent lay-up at the third playoff hole – the par-5 fourth – opened the door for Vu to clinch victory by getting up-and-down for birdie from the greenside bunker.

Despite the disappointment of falling just short, Kim acknowledged that it is another step forward in her young career.

“Going the three playoff holes with the Player of the Year last year, two major champions and obviously Lexi just being an icon for women’s golf says a lot about my game I guess,” said Kim, who now moves on to the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Sahalee Country Club.

“Obviously didn’t get it done. Yeah, it sucks, but I think I can see myself I guess in the future as well. Just how much I’ve grown.

“It’s only my second year out, and to be in this position it’s, as you can tell, overwhelming.

“All the credit goes to my team to push me this far.

“To get to these opportunities is, you know, unbelievable. To be able to play against these players in certain conditions and playoff for three holes, I think we all know we played some good damn golf.”

Kim wasn’t the only WPGA Tour of Australasia member with a top-10 finish this past week.

West Australian Kirsten Rudgeley continues to build towards a breakthrough win on the Ladies European Tour, finishing tied for sixth at the Ladies Italian Open as Whitney Hillier made an impressive return in her first LET start since last July.

An Aussie charge never materialised at the US Open where Min Woo Lee’s tie for 23rd was the best result, Bryson DeChambeau producing an extraordinary sand save on the 72nd hole to edge Rory McIlroy by a shot and claim his second US Open.

Photo: Raj Mehta/Getty Images


US Open Pinehurst Resort (No.2 Cse), Raleigh, North Carolina 1 Bryson DeChambeau 67-69-67-71—274 $US4.3 million T21 Min Woo Lee 73-69-72-71—285 $203,607 T32 Cameron Smith 71-72-72-72—287 $105,775 T32 Adam Scott 70-72-76-69—287 $105,775 T56 Ryan Fox (NZ) 73-72-76-71—292 $43,676 MC Jason Scrivener 74-72—146 MC Jason Day 71-77—148 MC Cam Davis 77-72—149

LPGA Tour Meijer LPGA Classic Blythefield Country Club, Belmont, Michigan 1 Lilia Vu 69-70-68-65—272 $US450,000 Won on third hole of sudden-death playoff T2 Grace Kim 68-65-66-73—272 $234,649 T17 Hira Naveed 69-70-71-68—278 $33,803 T17 Gabriela Ruffels 68-73-68-69—278 $33,803 MC Robyn Choi 73-70—143 MC Minjee Lee 72-78—150

Korean PGA Tour/Japan Golf Tour Hana Bank Invitational Namchuncheon CC, Chuncheon, South Korea 1 Takashi Ogiso 67-69-66-68—270 ¥28.02m MC Anthony Quayle 73-70—143 MC Junseok Lee 71-74—145 MC Matthew Griffin 70-75—145

Ladies European Tour Ladies Italian Open Golf Nazionale, Italy 1 Amy Taylor 70-67-69—206 €45,000 T6 Kirsten Rudgeley 66-74-70—210 €8,640 T32 Whitney Hillier 70-71-76—217 €2,499 T45 Amy Walsh 74-69-76—219 €1,504.29 T45 Kelsey Bennett 73-74-72—219 €1,504.29 T62 Momoka Kobori (NZ) 74-72-78—224 €855

Korn Ferry Tour Wichita Open Crestview Country Club, Wichita, Kansas 1 Taylor Dickson 64-64-68-65—261 MC Tim Wilkinson (NZ) 71-68—139 MC Rhein Gibson 73-68—141 MC Brett Drewitt 74-68—142 MC Dimi Papadatos 70-72—142 MC Daniel Gale 74-70—144 MC Steven Bowditch 79-75—154

Challenge Tour Kaskáda Golf Challenge Golf Resort Kaskáda, Brno, Czech Republic 1 Hamish Brown 64-69-70-63—266 €43,200 T23 Blake Windred 68-70-71-68—277 €2,403 MC Connor McKinney 69-72—141 MC Jeff Guan 69-73—142 MC Tom Power Horan 76-70—146 MC Hayden Hopewell 72-76—148

Epson Tour Otter Creek Championship Otter Creek Golf Course, Columbus, Indiana 1 Savannah Vilaubi 67-68-71—206 $US45,000 Won on the second hole of sudden-death playoff T47 Cassie Porter 73-71-72—216 $1,335 MC Amelia Garvey (NZ) 73-75—148 MC Fiona Xu (NZ) 75-75—150 MC Amy Chu 73-77—150 MC Maddison Hinson-Tolchard 71-79—150 WD Su Oh 78

LET Access Series Amundi Czech Ladies Challenge Panorama Golf Resort, Czech Republic 1 Helen Briem (a) 72-68-73—213 ------ T9 Hanee Song (NZ) 69-76-74—219 €1,317.50 T13 Stephanie Bunque 72-72-77—221 €1,147.50 T18 Munchin Keh (NZ) 76-74-72—222 €850 T25 Wenyung Keh (NZ) 78-73-73—224 €684.25 MC Belinda Ji (a) 77-80—157

Legends Tour Paul Lawrie Match Play Hanbury Manor Marriott Hotel & Country Club, Hertfordshire Final Angel Cabrera def James Kingston 3&1 Quarter-finals Angel Cabrera def Michael Long 2&1 Bradley Dredge def Scott Hend 2 up Round 3 Michael Long def Marc Farry 2&1 Scott Hend def Peter Fowler 3&2 Round 2 Michael Long def Michael Jonzon 3&2 Scott Hend def Adilson da Silva 2&1 Peter Fowler def David Gilford at 19th hole Round 1 Michael Long def Andrew Raitt 1 up Peter Fowler def Clark Dennis 4&3 Robert Coles def Peter O’Malley 2&1 Scott Hend def Jean Francois Remesy 3&2

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