Kim Sei-young hangs on for LPGA Lake Merced playoff victory

San Francisco (AFP) –


South Korea's Kim Sei-young shook off a disastrous start to win the LPGA Mediheal Championship in a playoff Sunday, beating Bronte Law and Lee6 Jeong-eun with a birdie at the first extra hole.

Kim began the day with a three-shot lead at Lake Merced in Daly City, California.

But she faltered early with a double-bogey at the first and a bogey at the second.

She fell to six-under for the tournament with a bogey at the eighth, and Law and Lee were in the clubhouse on 281 before Kim made her first birdie of the day at the par-five 15th to join them on seven-under.

Kim surrendered her share of the lead with a bogey from a bunker at the par-three 17th, but forced her way into the playoff with a birdie at the par-five 18th, capping a three-over 75.

The trio returned to the 18th, where all three found the fairway.

Lee -- who uses the numeral 6 to distinguish herself from other players of the same name who played on the Korean ladies' tour -- put her second shot on the back of the green but couldn't make birdie from there.

Law missed the green, and her third shot left her a mid-range birdie attempt which she missed.

Kim's playoff hole was almost a carbon copy of her birdie in regulation, her second shot landing just off the front of the green. Her putt from there left her a two-footer for a birdie.

The playoff came hours after England's Law had completed her bogey free 65.

Her five birdies included four in a row from the ninth through the 12th. She eagled the par-five 15th, where she stuck her second shot three feet from the pin.

Lee parred the first nine holes before playing the back nine in five-under. After a birdie at the 10th she eagled 15 and birdied 16, sealing her five-under 67 with a birdie at the 72nd hole.

But it was Kim who emerged the winner, improving her LPGA playoff record to 4-0 as she captured her eighth tour title.

"It was really frustrating because the beginning holes I had, like, double and a bogey," she said. "I tried to keep going and focus.

"It was really hard because my position was in the last group -- all day I had the pressure."

Four players shared fourth on 283: South Koreans Ji Eun-hee and Amy Yang, American Lexi Thompson and England's Charley Hull.

Ji, Yang and Thompson all shot 71 while Hull, who started the day three off Kim's lead, fired a two-over 74.