S. Korean teen stuns Webb to claim 1st Major
IN A dramatic finale, South Korean teenager Kim Hyo Joo held off the experienced Karrie Webb to win the Evian Championship on Sunday by one shot.
It was the first time Kim had played in a women's Major and she held her nerve to hole a 15-foot birdie putt at the 18th to finish ahead of the Australian veteran.
Webb, aiming to become the first player to win six different Majors in her stellar career, was one ahead playing the 18th.
But she took three from the edge - missing her 12-foot par effort - to be edged out by the tenacious teenager.
Even Kim looked stunned.
The 19-year-old had shot a final-round 68 and the 11-under 273 total secured the 350,000 euro prize (S$573,000) and the added bonus of a free pass onto next season's LPGA Tour.
Webb also shot 68 for second place on 10 under with another two South Koreans, Jang Ha Na (66) and Hur Mi Jung (68) tied for third on nine under. Yet another Korean Choi Na Yeon was fifth on eight under following a 67.
Kim started the final round one shot ahead of playing partner Webb and was two ahead of everyone by the turn and three in front with six holes to go.
But Webb, a seven-time Major winner, then launched a typically gutsy attack. She birdied the short 14th and the long 15th. Kim bogeyed No. 14 and dropped another shot at the 16th to suddenly find herself one behind with two to play.
At the 17th, she chunked her second shot but managed to salvage a par and then the 18th-hole birdie sealed it.
"I felt really nervous today but I'm very happy with the win," said Kim through an interpreter. "The course is hilly - just like in Korea."
Webb was shell-shocked.
"I don't know what hit me," was her immediate reaction. "There was probably a bit of adrenaline at the end and I hit the shot with the belly putter too strong and then missed the putt back."
Kim won as an amateur on both the Korean and Japanese Tours and she finished fourth in the Evian Masters - the name of the event before it became a Major - as an amateur in 2012.
Last year, she was the Rookie of the Year on the Korean Tour and has won thrice this season.
She has already been hailed as the best South Korean player since Pak Se Ri, who won two Majors as a rookie in 1998.
At the start of the week, Kim said she was unsure as to whether she would go to the LPGA Tour qualifying school this year.
Now she does not have to bother. "I'll certainly take it," she said of her exemption onto the circuit next year.