|Kim Sei-young Yonhap|
Kim Sei-young has joined a growing list of South Korean champions on the LPGA Tour this season.
Kim captured the LPGA Mediheal Championship at Lake Merced Golf Club in Daly City, near San Francisco, on Sunday (local time) in a three-way playoff for her first title of 2019 and eighth of her career.
After overcoming a shaky start to her final round, Kim beat out fellow South Korean Lee Jeong-eun and England's Bronte Law, after they all finished 72 holes at seven-under 281. Kim improved to 4-0 in career playoffs.
Kim is the fifth South Korean to win on the tour this year. In 11 tournaments, those five players have combined for six victories.
Kim has now recorded at least one victory every season since her Rookie of the Year campaign in 2015.
With eight career wins, Kim has pulled into a tie with retired Kim Mi-hyun for the fifth-most wins among South Korean players in LPGA history. She's trailing Pak Se-ri (25), Park In-bee (19), Shin Ji-yai (11) and Choi Na-yeon (nine).
Kim opened the final round at 10-under, three shots better than Charley Hull. She stumbled out of the gate with a double-bogey start and fell to six-under with another bogey at the eighth.
With Law and Lee long in the club house at seven-under, Kim reached the par-5 18th stuck at six-under. She stood over an eagle putt from just off the green there to clinch the title in regulation, but the putt missed just to the right, setting up the three-way playoff.
And on the first playoff hole, the 18th, Kim put her second shot to almost the identical spot from which she two-putted for a birdie in regulation. She left her attempt a couple of feet short this time, but, after Law and Lee both missed their birdie attempts, Kim calmly made hers to cap off the long day.
Kim said afterward it was "really frustrating" to struggle on early holes, but she tried to keep going and stay focused.
"It was really tough," Kim said. "The whole day, I got a lot of pressure. And I missed (the birdie at) the last par-3 (17th), and that's really bad for me. I still feel like almost my heart came out." (Yonhap)