A Lim Kim made her first US Women’s Open appearance a memorable one on Monday, closing with three straight birdies to tie the record for the largest comeback in the tournament’s history and win the biggest event in women’s golf.
Starting the final, frigid round at Champions Golf Club five shots behind, the 25-year-old South Korean wore a heavy down jacket between shots and delivered a four-under 67 for a one-shot victory over Amy Olson and Jin Young Ko.
Kim became the seventh player to rally from five shots behind in the final round of the US Women’s Open, and the first since Annika Sorenstam at The Broadmoor in 1995.
Olson held her own amid the grief of learning her father-in-law died unexpectedly on Saturday night. She was in tears on Sunday morning on the range, before rain pushed the final round to Monday.
Olson, winless in seven years on the LPGA Tour, had a two-shot lead on the back nine after the 54-hole leader, Hinako Shibuno, faltered. But she couldn’t do anything about Kim’s late charge, and Olson fell back when her hybrid on the par-three 16th bounded over the green and into thick, brown rough, leading to bogey. She birdied the final hole for a 72 after Kim had already secured the title.
Ko, the No 1 player in the world who only recently returned from South Korea where she rode out the Covid-19 pandemic, also birdied the 18th when it was too late to catch Kim. Ko closed with a 68, one of only six players to break par in the final round. Shibuno closed with a 74 and finished two shots back.
Kim finished at three-under 281 and won $1m. She added to South Korean dominance of this major, the ninth winner in the last 13 years.