May 03, 2021 10:42
Kim Hyo-joo won her first LPGA Tour title in five years and three months on Sunday with a spectacular finish in the final round of the HSBC Women's World Championship in Singapore.
Kim, sitting in eighth place five strokes behind the leader after the third round, had eight birdies without any bogeys in the fourth round to finish with a 17-under 271. She edged out Australian Hannah Green by one stroke. It was Kim's fourth career title on the LPGA Tour.
Turning professional in 2012 after setting many records as an amateur, she was unstoppable until 2016, clinching 10 KLPGA and three LPGA titles including one major.
Then she fell into a slump, managing only runner-up finishes at two LPGA events during the some four-year period. She started to return to form last year, winning two titles on the KLPGA.
She trained hard to increase her muscle mass, resulting in improved drive distance, which boosted her confidence and performance.
"I decided to compete in Korea only last season due to coronavirus and worked hard to strengthen my weaknesses to prepare to return to the LPGA. My goal for this season on the LPGA was to win one title, and it came too soon. So I will have to think of a new goal," Kim said.
As of Sunday, Kim's world ranking was ninth. In order to make the national team for the Tokyo Olympics in July, she needs to be one of the top four Korean players in the world rankings at the end of June.
Kim is currently ranked fourth among Korean women, after Ko Jin-young, Park In-bee and Kim Sei-young. "The experience of being able to represent my country will give me a lot of pride and sense of responsibility for the rest of my life," said Kim. "My victory on Sunday gave me even more confidence, and I would really love to represent Korea [at the Olympics]."
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