24 May 2021 | Professional golf |

Kemp's near miss on LPGA

by Martin Blake

Sarah Kemp Kingsmill r4 image
Sarah Kemp drives on the fourth during her final round at Kingsmill resort today. Photo: Getty

Australian Sarah Kemp fell just short of her first-ever win on the LPGA Tour but continued her resurgence at Kingsmill Resort in Virginia today.

The 35-year-old Kemp was in contention throughout the final round of the Pure Silk Championship and logged a one-under par 70 before conceding to Wei-Ling Hsu of Taiwan, who won by two shots at 13 under overall.

But Kemp’s fourth-place finish at nine under par is her best on the main tour this season and just short of her career-best T2 at the 2019 ISPS Handa Vic Open at 13th Beach. It is her second top-five finish in 2021 and her best-ever finish on north American soil.

Later she admitted she had allowed her mind to wander and contemplated winning, but she also said the experience of being in the mix had been huge. "This is so much fun," she said. "I loved being nervous. I loved being in contention. I want to do it more often. So I take heaps of confidence from a this week."

The 108th-ranked Hsu raced to the lead with a stunning eagle at the par-five 15th hole after a nice bounce off the bank left of the green, and closed with a 68 to complete her first LPGA victory aged 26. "I've been waiting for seven years," she said later. "I don't want to wait anymore."

Meanwhile Kemp’s chase for a first victory on the big tour continues.

The Australian, who hails from Tuncurry in New South Wales and a 14-year veteran of the tour, had a share of the lead when she hit it close at the par-four 12th and made the birdie putt. But she missed good chances at 14, where she left her birdie putt a roll sort, and at 15, and the moment passed.

A three-putt bogey from long range at the 18th, where she missed from just a metre, left a sour taste after a great week. "You know, I shouldn't let the last putt bother me because it didn't cost me, but I would have liked to make that. "Overall today was a little bit tougher, so I thought a round in the 60s, I was looking at three or four under might be pretty good. I didn't do that, but I shot under par. Played really solid. I would've liked to have made a few more putts, but if someone said to me at the beginning of the week, You're going to have a solid fourth, probably would've taken it."

Thai Moriya Jutanugarn, who finished second, led by two through 14 holes, but found trouble at 15, leaving her second shot in a fairway bunker and taking double bogey.


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