Sei Young Kim wins first major championship in her Sunday red
NEWTOWN SQUARE, PA – When Sei Young Kim was 16-years old she won her first event in South Korea. It was then that she began the tradition of wearing red on Sunday, a practice Tiger Woods made popular in his 15 major victories.
Sunday, red won it again.
This time it was Kim, wearing her signature red pants, who tasted major glory for the first time at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. Kim, who held both the 36 and 54-hole leads at Aronimink Golf Club, never relinquished the lead on Sunday.
Kim played like the man who inspired her to wear “Sunday red” and remained aggressive over the closing stretch. Woods won by a record 12 strokes in his first major victory at the 1997 Masters Tournament. Sunday, Kim carded the lowest final round in the 66-year history of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship with a 7-under par, 63.
“I did not look at the scoreboard once,” Kim said after her victory. “I stuck to my game plan. Just focused one shot at a time. I didn't want to play like this was my final round, but just stick to my momentum that I've played all week, so that worked out.”
Kim won by five strokes ahead of LPGA Tour Hall of Fame member Inbee Park, who she finished runner-up to at the 2015 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. This time, it was Kim who came out on top.
“Sei Young was just really untouchable, and she played really, really good golf today,” Park said Sunday. “[Today], it really reminds me of 2015 when we went head-to-head on the final day and it was just the opposite today.”
Park, a three-time winner of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, mounted a Sunday charge and made it a two-horse race. Park drained a 15-footer for birdie at the par 4, 12th hole to cut Kim’s lead to two. But Park missed a birdie opportunity at the par 4, 13 and slumped over in disappointment, knowing Kim was slipping away. Kim responded with back-to-back birdies to extend her lead to four with five holes to play.
“I'm happy to have Inbee as a fellow competitor and a great sister,” Kim said about her fellow Korean. “I look up to her, and I feel appreciative that she gave a compliment to me, and I look forward to competing against her in many other tournaments.”
Kim’s major victory was the next natural step in what has already been an impressive and record-breaking career.
Kim burst onto the LPGA Tour in 2015 and won in just her second start as a member. Later that season she won for a second time, going head to head with Park, who she defeated with a thrilling eagle from the fairway in a playoff to defeat the LPGA Tour Hall of Fame member.
In 2015, Kim capped off the season with a third victory and took home Rookie of the Year honors. She added seven more victories to her growing resume, including the 2019 CME Group Tour Championship where she won a historic $1.5 million dollars, the biggest pay day in the women’s game. In 2018, Kim set a new 72-hole scoring record on the LPGA Tour when she won at 31-under par at the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic and shattered the record previously set by Annika Sorenstam.
Sunday, the 16-year old girl who wore red for the first time in a junior tournament back home in Korea, became a major champion.
“It's a dream come true,” Kim said. “I'm waiting for a while to reach my biggest goal to win a major tournament, so I'm very glad to win the first major tournament at the KPMG.”