by REERA YOO
In a dramatic finale, 19-year-old Korean golfer Kim Hyo-joo won her first major tournament at the Evian Championship in France on Sunday.
“I feel very happy, like a bird,” Kim told The Associated Press through a translator. “I want to fly in the sky.”
Kim was one shot behind seven-time major winner Karrie Webb, 39, on the final hole but turned the tables when she drained a 12-foot birdie putt. Webb, on the other hand, narrowly missed her 12-foot par and was edged out by the South Korean teen, the AP reported.
“I don’t know what hit me, probably a rush of adrenaline, and it was a poor putt knowing I had to make it,” said Webb.
Kim made history on Thursday by becoming the first player to shoot a 10-under-par 61, the lowest score ever in a major tournament for both men and women. However, she slipped back with bogeys on the 14th and 16th while Webb birdied the 14th and 15th. It was sudden death until the final hole, and Kim won the championship just by one shot.
According to the AP, her caddie, Gordon Rowan, said Kim didn’t even know she had won after the final putt.
“I said ‘You’ve won.’ She said ‘No, no, I haven’t,’ which was quite sweet,” Rowan said .
Kim finished on 11-under 273 overall, becoming the third youngest major winner at 19 years, 2 months. The win marks Kim’s first on the U.S. pro tour and moves her from No. 20 to No. 10 in the world golf rankings.
Three other South Koreans made it to the top five at the Evian with Jang Ha Na and Hur Mi Jung tied for third and Choi Na-yeon in fifth place.
Photo courtesy of Laurent Cipriani/AP Photo.