In-Kyung Kim won the ShopRite LPGA Classic, shooting a closing 69 and an 11-under 202 in the 54-hole event at the Bay Course at Stockton Seaview Resort in Galloway, N.J. Kim finished two ahead of Anna Nordqvist, who won this event in 2015 and 2016 and came close to achieving the rare three-peat.
Kim’s win came as a bit of a surprise to her; the 28-year-old from South Korea had been trying to repair her game after she fell down the stairs at the end of 2016. Due to the amount of recovery required, the ShopRite is only her sixth start of this season.
“I really didn't expect it right away,” said Kim of the win, the fifth of her career. “But I knew my game was better than last year. That's all I could really ask for. But my trainer, my coach, they had to change so many plan for me because so many things happen from last winter. But I just feel so good and feel all the support. So I really appreciate all the fans out here and be able to play my game. It's really something.”
Birdies on three of Kim's first 13 holes left her in prime position to claim the title, even as she bogeyed the 14th, her lone blemish of the day. Still, Nordqvist's dominance at the ShopRite made a comeback from the Swedish native seem inevitable. Besides the back-to-back wins in the event, she also had finished third in 2014 and T-5 in 2011 and 2012. Her worst showing in seven previous starts in the tournament was a T-13 in 2013.
Nordqvist was also trying to become the first player to win twice on tour in 2017. Through 13 events this season, there are still no multiple winners on the LPGA this season, a statistical oddity considering that 1991 was the last time the tour went more than 10 events without a player winning twice on the year.
Michelle Wie shot 65 in the final round to move her up to a tie for third, four shots behind Kim. The finish is Wie’s best since 2014, when she finished in a tie for third at the Blue Bay LPGA. Overall, it’s been a strong year for Wie. This third-place finish marks her fourth top-10 of the year.
“Definitely after a missed cut last week you always have things creeping up in your head giving you a little bit of doubt,” said Wie at the ShopRite. “But, you know, it felt good today to go out there and crush all of it and keep building momentum.”
Paula Creamer started the final round tied with Kim for a share of the lead at nine under, but stumbled home with a two-over 74. Even so, Creamer finished T-7, which will help her Solheim Cup bid as it was her top finish thus far in 2017, better than her previous best of T-30 in March.
Two players who weren’t in the field—Ariya Jutanugarn and Lydia Ko—are likely to be making news on Monday morning: Jutanugarn is projected to be the new World No. 1, ending Ko’s 84-week streak.