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Dublin: 2°C Thursday 21 January 2021

Antrim's Meadow finishes third as Kim follows up major breakthrough with LGPA title

The Northern Irishwoman pocketed over €85,000 for her standalone third-placed finish, five shots off the winning world no.2.

Stephanie Meadow (file pic).
Stephanie Meadow (file pic).
Image: Presseye/Philip Magowan/INPHO

SOUTH KOREAN KIM Sei-young followed up her first major title at the Women’s PGA Championship with her 12th LPGA crown Sunday, firing an even-par 70 to win the Pelican Women’s Championship by three strokes, while Northern Ireland’s Stephanie Meadow finished in standalone third — her best finish since the 2014 US Open.

Meadow, 28, who is set to partner Leona Maguire for Ireland at next year’s Olympics, scored a final-round 69 to finish nine under par overall and earn a payday of over €85,000 ($101,250).

The Jordanstown, Co. Antrim woman recovered from back-to-back bogeys in her opening two holes to claim third spot, five behind winner Kim and just two behind America’s Ally McDonald who was alone in second on 11 under.

Meadow moved from 59th to 35th on the LPGA Tour’s Race to CME Globe order of merit. She is assured of her place in the season-ending Tour Championship, which is limited to the leading 60 players on that list and offers a $1.5 million top prize.

Maguire, meanwhile, finished with a 74 and seven over for the weekend in tied-54th.

Champion Kim, who finished 14 under with an even-par final-round 70, said: “A win is always great,” as the world no.2 became the first woman since Ariya Jutanugarn in 2016 to follow a maiden major title with a tour triumph in her next start.

“I’m very happy to win the 12th tournament, and after winning the major tournament, it means a lot to me.”

American McDonald had trailed Kim by five coming into the final round, and admitted that while she started the day aiming to close the gap, “Once we got to a point I just tried to take Sei-young out of it and play like a little tournament within the rest of the field.”

But Kim said she was feeling some pressure as her lead dwindled to three strokes mid-round.

“I was, like, ‘OK, Sei-young, focus. Keep going,’” she said, adding that the lack of wind after three gusty days made for a tough adjustment.

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“Very challenging golf today,” she said.

Kim, who opened her round with a birdie but gave the shot back at the next hole, said her assurance deserted her after a bogey at the ninth, where her second shot flew the green and she chipped on and two-putted.

That erased the gain she’d made with a birdie at the sixth.

“When I turned the nine hole, I was (feeling) a little bit of pressure before I made the birdie at 14,” said Kim. After that, however, “everything was good.”

She arrived at the final hole with a four-shot lead so that her closing bogey proved irrelevant.

Kim passed Shin Ji-yai on the LPGA’s all-time wins list of players from South Korea and now trails only Pak Se-ri (25) and Park In-bee (20).

Two wins in her last two starts have Kim feeling confident with the final major of the pandemic-disrupted 2020 season — the Women’s US Open — coming up in December, followed by the Tour Championship.

“After a win I’ve always got the extra confidence,” she said. “I feel happy when I walk on the course.”

© – AFP, 2020

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