Aussies bow to record Kim romp

Katherine Kirk
Katherine Kirk completes a brave title defence in Wisconsin.

On any normal weekend, Katherine Kirk or Minjee Lee might have been right in contention.

But this wasn't a normal tournament.

The Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic in Wisconsin ended with defending champion Kirk at 15 under and her compatriot Lee at 14 under.

But sadly for the Aussies, those generally imposing scores will be little more than a footnote to a remarkable slice of history created by Sei Young Kim.

Kim, 25, shattered the LPGA Tour's scoring mark in winning by nine strokes at an extraordinary 31 under par.

Her rounds of 63-65-64-65 erased legendary Annika Sorenstam from the record book, smashing the mark she previously shared with Kim at 27 under.

But arguably even more remarkable is that the pint-sized Korean missed just five greens for the tournament, all while averaging 250m drives.

She had an eagle, 31 birdies and not one bogey, meaning a double-bogey on the 17th hole in round two was her only blemish.

"After I shot 27 under (at the 2016 JJTBC Founders Cup to tie Sorenstam’s record), I wanted the (outright) 72-hole record," Kim said.

"This is a dream come true."

Kim has always been an explosive player who makes birdies in bunches. Since 2015, she has had 22 rounds of 65 or lower, including a 61 this year at the ShopRite Classic.

Thornberry Creek was the seventh career LPGA victory for Kim and she has now won at least once on tour for four consecutive years.

Before the tournament, Kim visited YouTube in search of tips to help her achieve peak performance on the course. "I learned to trust myself," she said when asked what she found out.

Kirk, who won last year at her own remarkable 22 under, was forced to settle for a share of 20th, while her International Crown teammate Lee's total was good for a share of 23rd.

Rebecca Artis endured a frustrating final round to card a 76 and slide to a share of 72nd despite her five-under total.