LPGA Tour: Charley Hull pipped to season-ending title by last-gasp birdie by Sei Young Kim
Kim holes 25-foot birdie putt on the final green to clinch one-shot victory over Hull in final event of the year
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 25/11/19 2:01pm
Charley Hull's outstanding late charge came up just short as Se Young Kim snatched victory in an enthralling finish to the LPGA Tour season at the CME Group Tour Championship.
Hull looked to have done enough to get into a play-off when she birdied five of the last seven holes to claim the clubhouse lead on 17 under par, and Kim gave herself an outside chance of birdie for the win when she knocked her approach to 25 feet at the last.
But Kim read the putt perfectly and found the hole to clinch victory and the richest prize in women's golf, her closing 70 proving just enough to deny Hull her second win in the event by a single shot.
Hull appeared to be too far back to get into contention when she parred 10 of the first 11 holes while making a solitary birdie at the second, but she suddenly propelled herself up the leaderboard with back-to-back birdies at 12 and 13.
The Solheim Cup star was unable to take advantage of the par-five 14th and added another par at 15, but she finished with a flourish as she birdied each of the final three holes to pile the pressure on Kim, who was showing signs of nerves down the stretch.
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The South Korean was 18 under with five to play before running up a bogey-six at the 14th, but she steadied her self with three pars before denying Hull with one of the best putts of her career on the 72nd green.
"On 15 I looked at the leaderboard and thought I've got a chance here if I birdie in," said newlywed Hull, whose final-round 66 earned her best result of the year and a cheque of close to half-a-million dollars as she prepares to go on honeymoon.
"I didn't birdie 15, but birdied 16, 17, 18 and gave it my best shot. I'm pretty happy considering the first day after the first hole I was two over par because I started with a seven. To finish at 17 under and know I just missed by one, it was so close.
"I think the whole tournament is a great event for women's golf and just nice to finish the year with a big event like this."
An emotional Kim revealed she was not entirely aware of the situation when she stood over the final putt as she celebrated her third victory of a stellar 2019 campaign, as well as adding a cool $1.5m to her bank balance!
"That last putt, I just tried to make two-putt because I didn't see the leaderboard," she said. "I didn't know that if I made a two-putt it could go to play-off. So I just try and make the right distance and I made it. It's unbelievable, and I was so emotional.
"I didn't know that I was tied for the lead with Charley. After I made the putt and saw the leaderboard I was so surprised that Charley was 17 under. I tried to make myself relax but going to the final round still got nervous. I tried to calm myself but it didn't work. It was really nervous the whole 18."
Danielle Kang fired a brilliant 65 to claim a share of third with her US Solheim Cup team-mate Nelly Korda on 16 under, while Jin Young Ko finished the leading money winner over the season and also lifted the Vare Trophy awarded to the player with the best scoring average for the year.