Korea’s In-Kyung Kim displayed nerves of steel to hold off the challenge of Jodi Ewart Shadoff, and win her first major title at a wet and windy Kingsbarns Golf Links.
29-year-old Kim started the final round with a six-shot lead over the field but, when Ewart Shadoff became the third player of the week to card a course record 64, the Korean needed to produce nine consecutive pars over her closing nine holes to post -1 and finish just two shots clear of the Englishwoman on -18.
Kim’s shot of the day came at the 17th. She hit a 5-wood 197-yards second shot into the wind flying over a ditch to set up a 15-foot birdie putt. She did not hole it but her regulation par gave her the luxury of a two-shot lead heading up the last. She went on to play it in text book fashion to bury her inner demons since missing a one-foot putt for the win on the 72nd hole of the 2012 Kraft Nabisco (the season’s first major at the time), then losing the play-off to Sun Young Yoo. But at Kinsbarns she was helpted by a French caddy…
“I feel uplifted and say that because I didn’t expect to win this week,” she said. “I didn’t really have any expectations. I had one of my best warm-ups of the week, so that gave me quiet confidence. But the wind was blowing differently, and I wasn’t hitting the ball as close. I didn’t have many makeable putts, but I played as well as I could with what I had today.”
Jodi Ewart Shadoff’s round of the day started with a birdie on the second hole. She went on to fire five more in succession from the sixth before tying the course record with two further birdies at the 13th and 17th. “I just tried to stay in the moment and hit as many good shots as I could,” she said.
“Honestly, I didn’t think I had a shot. So I was just trying to finish as high up as I could. It’s been a big boost to me,” she added. “I didn’t have much confidence coming into this week, having missed the cut last week (at the Scottish Open) but my putter was on fire.” Ewart’s 16-under par total saw her finish three shots ahead of Georgia Hall, Caroline Masson (her buddies in the coming Solheim Cup’s Team Europe), and first round leader Michelle Wie.
Soon after the end of the championhip, both the USA and Europe Captains completed and disclosed their teams for the Solheim Cup to be played in Iowa on a composite course at the Des Moines Country Club on August 18 – 20.
Europe captain Annika Sorenstam had four wildcard choices, picking Anna Nordqvist and Madelene Sagstrom both Swedes, along with Germany’s Caroline Masson and Emily Pederson (DEN). They join Charley Hull, Georgia Hall, Jodi Ewart Shadoff, Florentyna Parker automatically qualified for the team like the pilars Carlota Ciganda, Karine Icher, Suzann Pettersen and Mel Reid, through the European Solheim order of merit and the Rolex world rankings.
The outcome of the Ricoh Women’s British Open also allowed USA Captain Juli Inkster to disclose her two surprising wild cards Austin Ernst and Angel Yin. That meant six-time Solheim Cup Paula Creamer and US Open Champion is out. She scored the awaited 8th point on Sunday’s singles for the win of the US side in Germany two years ago. Keep in mind that the 31-year Paul Creamer has left the Rolex Rankings Top 100 for some time now.
The United States lead 9-5. On the paper, Team USA facing at home a quite young set of European players should add another success. Annika’s answer? Let’s play first… tb/bc/pph