Evian Championship: Jin Young Ko wins by two after late mistake from Hyo Joo Kim
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 28/07/19 7:27pm
Jin Young Ko took advantage of a series of errors on one hole from long-time leader Hyo Joo Kim to land her second major of the year at the Evian Championship.
Kim was on course to emulate her 2014 victory at Evian-Les-Bains as she opened up a two-stroke lead with six holes to play but, after a birdie from Ko at the 13th halved the deficit, Kim then tripled-bogeyed the next as the tournament turned on its head.
Ko added a birdied at the 17th to give herself a two-shot buffer over clubhouse leaders, Jennifer Kupcho and Shanshan Feng, and a cast-iron par at the last second completed a 67 which earned her a two-shot win on 15 under par.
After a lengthy delay to the start of the final round due to overnight heavy rain not relenting until mid-morning, third-round leader Kim made a cautious start with six pars and a bogey over the first seven holes, while Ko pulled within one with birdies at six and seven.
World No 1 Sung Hyun Park stayed in contention as she hit back from bogeys on the first two holes with birdies at the third and seventh, although she would then take herself out of the running when she followed a double-bogey at 11 with another blemish at the next.
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Kim restored her two-shot lead with her first birdie of the day at the eighth, and she responded to Ko's birdie at 10 with an excellent three at the 11th before both South Koreans bogeyed the next to leave Kim two clear at the top.
But Ko applied the pressure with her fourth birdie at the 13th, and Kim's title challenge unravelled at the short 14th when her wayward tee-shot plugged in a greenside bunker and she was unable to escape the trap with her first attempt.
Kim barely made it out with her second stab, and she compounded the error by racing her bogey-putt from the fringe five feet beyond the hole before missing the return to walk off with a scrappy six on her card.
Ko's solid par suddenly gave her the outright lead which she consolidated with three good pars as Kim struggled to regroup, and the reigning ANA Inspiration champion increased her advantage with a superb approach in close to set up another birdie at the 17th.
The 24-year-old played it safe up the par-five last and, after finding the heart of the green in three, she safely two-putted from 20 feet to secure the win which is projected to see her arrive at Woburn for next week's AIG Women's British Open as the new world No 1.
Kim lifted her spirits with a consolation birdie at the last to round off a 73 and join Feng and Kupcho in a share of second place on 13 under, with Augusta National Women's Amateur champion Kupcho producing a flying finish with three birdies over the last four holes capping a bogey-free 66.
Ariya Jutanugarn closed with a 68 to finish on 11 under and just a shot ahead of her sister, Moriya, who was also three under for the final day, while Park's disappointing 75 dropped her into a share of sixth - five strokes behind the winner.