LPGA’s top two golfers fall to unlikely winner as Sun Young Yoo wins the Nabisco Championships capturing her first LPGA major victory.
By Gary Montgomery
Rancho Mirage – In twenty years of sports reporting I have never heard an athlete say I didn’t think I could win. We just don’t expect that level of humility in professional sports. We have been pre-conditioned to expect an almost annoying level of bravado and trash talk. After Sunday’s playoff win over I.K. Kim, Sun Young Yoo calmly said: “I didn’t think about winning today. I didn’t want to expect too much, and I didn’t want to let myself down, but I think I did better than I was thinking, so I’m very happy”.
Yes, Yoo did do much better than she expected and walked away with a cool $300,000 paycheck to help boast her expectations in the future. Yoo dropped an 18-foot birdie putt in the first playoff hole to beat fellow South Korean I.K. Kim and capture her first LPGA majors’ victory. Kim, the number two women’s golfer in the world was stunned at the end of regulation after missing a 1-foot gimme put that rimmed out leaving her in a tie with Yoo.
“I was nervous the whole way, obviously on the back 9 I think I executed good shots, and I hit many putts. But, on 18, you know, I wanted to make the putt with the right speed. But coming up to it I tried to take my time, and you know, same routine,” said Kim. Kim missed her opportunity the go to10 under par and win the tournament outright. Her bogey on the 18th hole dropped her to 9 under and a tie with Yoo. Yani Tseng, the world’s number one women’s golfer and the odds on favorite to win the tournament had a chance to get invited to the into the playoff round but missed a 17 foot putt to drop her to 8 under par and a third place finish after leading for the first two days of the tournament. There were five lead changes during Sunday’s exciting final round. Sweden’s, Karin Sjodin looked like she was in control after posting a 68 on Saturday to take the lead from Tseng. After Sjodin started to falter, Hee Kyung Seo briefly took over the lead but bogeyed the last four holes as she watched Kim overtake her on the leader board with Yoo in hot pursuit only one stroke back. After missing the soon to be legendary short putt on 18, Kim clutched her face in stunned silence. Her caddie rushed to give her a hug and it seemed to snap her out of the momentary shock of missing an opportunity to win. But a hug can last only so long and Kim admitted that the thought of letting it get away kept crossing her mind.
“It’s just hard to kind of focus (on) what’s going on right now because I was still a little bummed (at) what happened on 18, honestly”. I don’t know, you know, sometimes things happen, and it’s kind of, you know, tough because it’s Nabisco, and hopefully I’ll have better and more chances,” said Kim.
After coming up short on her approach shot, Kim’s long birdie attempt was short. Yoo dropped her 18-foot birdie putt to walk away with the win. After finishing second behind Yani Tseng last week at the Kia Classic and winning the Nabisco championship this week Yoo’s confidence has to be higher now.
Yani Tseng, the number one women’s golfer in the world finished third at 8 under par.
G. Montgomery can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo by Robert Attical BVN staff photographer Taking a little Dip – Sun Young Yoo and her caddie, Adam Woodward as they take the traditional winners leap into Poppie’s Pond after her Nabisco Championship victory Sunday on the Dinah Shore course.
Photo by Robert Attical BVN staff photographer South Korea’s Sun Young Yoo posses with the trophy after winning the Nabisco Championship on Sunday at the Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage.