Oakley's Seo Hee-kyung Wins The Kia Classic
Tears rolled down on the face of golfer Seo Hee-kyung, a 24-year-old known for her bright smile.
Seo shot a two-under 70 to win the Kia Classic in Carlsbad, California, to win by six strokes and her first LPGA championship.
Seo is not a member of the LPGA Tour, but received a sponsor`s exemption to get into the tournament.
She won her fifth title in the Korea Ladies’ Professional Golf Tour last year, and was leading the China Ladies’ Open in Xiamen at the end of last year after two rounds. In the third and final round, however, Seo shot three straight bogeys to force overtime. She then suffered a triple bogey because of a series of chip shot mistakes on the third hole, allowing rival Yoo So-yeon to win. A bitter Seo said after the loss, “I learned a lesson that I should not be overconfident.”
After three painful months, she rebounded with her first LPGA win. In Carlsbad, Seo finished at 12-under 276 and was the only player to shoot under par on all four days.
She is also the first Korean to win an LPGA event this season, earning 255,000 U.S. dollars in the process.
This year is the year of the white tiger in the Chinese zodiac. Born in the year of tiger, Seo earned the option of accepting LPGA membership for this season. She had no plan to play overseas, but reluctantly agreed to, saying, “I’m happy for getting a good opportunity. I have to make a decision by next week. But I have much to do in Korea,” implying that she might not play overseas. Seo has 11 wins on the KLPGA in the last two years.
She will play Thursday in the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the first LPGA major of the season, as the money leader in Korea.