PGA Tour

Kim follows up major breakthrough with LPGA title at Belleair

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Kim Sei-young of Korea.
Kim Sei-young of Korea.
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

South Korean Kim Sei-young followed up her first major title at the Women's PGA Championship with her 12th LPGA crown on Sunday, firing an even-par 70 to win the Pelican Women's Championship by three strokes.

"A win is always great," said world No 2 Kim, who 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."

Kim's even-par effort gave her a 14-under total of 266 and a three-shot win over American Ally McDonald, who carded a two-under 68.

The American 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."

McDonald, who claimed her first LPGA title at the Drive On Championship in Georgia last month, finished two strokes in front of Northern Ireland's Stephanie Meadow, who fired a 69 for 271.

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.

"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."

Leading final-round scores on Sunday in the LPGA  Pelican Women's Championship in Tampa, Florida (par-70, USA unless noted):

266 - Kim Sei-young (KOR) 67-65-64-70

269 - Ally McDonald 67-66-68-68

271 - Stephanie Meadow (NIR) 69-65-68-69

272 - Austin Ernst 71-68-65-68, Lydia Ko (NZL) 70-67-66-69

273 - Jessica Korda 69-73-67-64, Angela Stanford 70-68-70-65, Jennifer Song 68-70-70-65, Brooke Henderson (CAN) 68-70-66-69

275 - Ashleigh Buhai (RSA) 66-72-70-67

276 - Elizabeth Szokol 69-66-70-71

277 - Caroline Masson (GER) 69-70-70-68, Mel Reid (ENG) 73-70-65-69

278 - Jodi Ewart Shadoff (ENG) 68-71-74-65

279 - Brittany Altomare 72-70-69-68, Amy Olson 70-71-70-68, Park Hee-young (KOR) 68-73-68-70, Sophia Popov (GER) 64-70-75-70, Minjee Lee (AUS) 68-69-67-75

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