Hull Pipped by Kim After Brilliant Finish to LPGA Tour Championship
ENGLAND’S Charley Hull came within a whisker of winning the LPGA’s season-ending Tour Championship, finishing one shot behind winner Kim Sei-young of South Korea after a brilliant final-day charge. Hull, 23, recorded six birdies, and no bogeys, in a final round six-under 66 in Florida. But overnight leader, Kim, 26, sank a 25-foot birdie putt on the 18th green to take the title in dramatic circumstances. It was enough to claim the $1.5m first prize - the richest in the history of women's golf.
In an event only for the top 60 on Tour, Hull came into the week ranked 51st. She had not had a top-10 finish in any tournament since May, but she found her game over the weekend, shooting two rounds of 66. Hull birdied the 16th, 17th and 18th holes and seemed destined to have secured a playoff until Kim, who had led from the start, found a putt when she needed it most - on the final green for her 10th tour victory. It denied Hull the chance to claim only her second LPGA title, after winning this same event in 2016. "I gave it my best shot," she said. "I told myself on 15, I needed to birdie in to have a chance and I birdied 16, 17, and 18."
Georgia Hall ended in a tie for 11th following a 68, one stroke ahead of fellow Englishwoman Bronte Law. who shot a 71.
Tyler Duncan became the latest first-time winner on the PGA Tour when he won the RSM Classic after seeing off former US Open champion Webb Simpson in a playoff. The 30-year-old turned pro in 2012 and this was his first win in more than 150 starts.
“You never know, this is a crazy game,” Duncan said, “It can go several different directions.” Duncan started the week ranked 378th in the world. On Sunday, he held off the highest-ranked player in the field, holing a 25-foot birdie putt on the final hole and then adding another birdie on the second hole of the playoff with Simpson. Duncan finished at 19-under 263, shooting a first-round 67 at Sea Island’s Plantation Course before shooting 61-70-65 in the final three rounds on the Seaside Course.
He moved from 151st to 11th in the FedExCup standings and earned invitations to events such as the Sentry Tournament of Champions, the Players Championship, The Masters and the US PGA Championship. He also is exempt on the PGA TOUR through the end of the 2022 season.
The final round was played in cold, windy conditions, but Duncan shrugged them off on his way to a 65. “When I saw (the forecast), I was like it's going to be great because you just go out and play solid golf. And one of my strengths is ball?striking, controlling my ball and I did a pretty good job of that,” Duncan said. “Anytime there's wind, you have to be able to really control your ball and it definitely worked in my favour.” Duncan is one of the shortest hitters on tour - he is also one of the straightest. He missed just one fairway and two greens in the final round, and finished the week ranked fourth in greens hit and sixth in driving accuracy.
Brendon Todd was trying to become the first player since Tiger Woods to win three consecutive PGA Tour events but his final round of 72 ended a streak of 12 consecutive rounds of 68 or lower. He will enter the new year with a 140-point lead in the FedExCup after finishing fourth.
Simpson took a two-shot lead into the back nine before being caught by Sebastián Muñoz, but Simpson holed a 22-footer for a birdie on the 16th to take a one-shot lead. He stared down the putt before pumping his fist when it dropped in the hole. After Simpson teed off on 17, a roar went up from 18 for Duncan’s closing birdie. Simpson holed five-foot par putts on the final two holes to tie Duncan.
Duncan hit his approach inside Simpson on each playoff hole. Duncan missed from 22 feet on the first extra hole before making a 13-footer for the win. He made his only bogey of the week on the first hole on Sunday, but made six birdies and no bogeys the rest of the day. He preceded his birdie on 18 by holing a 7-foot birdie putt on the 192-yard, par-3 17th.
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