EVIAN-LES-BAINS, France – South Korean teenager Hyo-Joo Kim beat Australian veteran Karrie Webb by one shot on Sunday to win the Evian Championship and become the third youngest major winner at 19 years, 2 months.
Kim trailed the 39-year-old Webb by one shot heading into the final hole. But she turned the tables with a birdie from 12 feet out, and Webb then missed a chance to force a playoff when a difficult attempt for par from the same distance drifted left of the hole.
Kim led Webb by one shot overnight and they both posted 3-under rounds of 68 in perfect playing conditions, with no clouds or wind to disrupt them.
“I was flying like a bird,” Kim said.
Webb was looking to win her eighth career major and first since Kraft Nabisco in 2006 – the year she also won Evian before it became a major.
“Obviously wasn’t meant to be. I believe in fate a little bit, and I wasn’t meant to win,” Webb said. “I hit a lot of good putts this week. Probably the one on the last was the poorest I hit all week.”
Kim, who finished on 11-under 273, had already set a record for lowest round in any major with a 61 on Thursday.
Only Morgan Pressel and Lexi Thompson – both from the U.S. – have won majors at a younger age than Kim, who is studying physical education at Seoul university.
She seemed to take it all in her stride.
When Webb’s putt rolled wide, Kim removed her glasses slowly and then walked up to Webb, giving her a small hug.
Webb finished ahead of three other South Koreans. Ha-Na Jang and Mi-Jung Hur were tied for third at 9 under, with Na-Yeon Choi in fifth another shot back. Defending champion Suzann Pettersen of Norway was one behind her and former champion Paula Creamer of the U.S. placed seventh at 6 under.
Meanwhile, Michelle Wie, who pulled out during the first round because of a recurrence of her right index finger injury, won the inaugural Rolex Annika Major award.
Named after retired Swedish great Annika Sorenstam, it honors the player with the best overall record in the five majors. Wie won the U.S. Women’s Open and finished second at the Kraft Nabisco.
Webb looked certain to clinch her 42nd LPGA title with two holes to play.
Kim’s approach on the 16th almost rolled into the water, leaving her a difficult uphill par putt from the fringe, which she missed as Webb took the lead with a par from 4 feet.
Webb missed a long birdie chance on the 17th and was way short, giving her a difficult par putt from six feet. Taking her time, she showed good composure to hold.
But that composure left her on the last. Webb’s second shot on the final hole took her too wide and slightly off the green.
“I don’t know what hit me actually,” Webb said. “Just probably a rush of adrenaline with the belly wedge. The putt was obviously a lot faster than I thought, too. Then hit a very poor putt after knowing I had to make it for a playoff.”
About 30 feet from the pin, Webb chose to chip and almost made an improbable birdie as the ball rolled just past the hole, but then carried on downhill for about 12 feet.
Kim punched the air after making her birdie.
“If I missed this hole, I would lose,” she said.
Webb was certainly impressed.
“The shot is definitely very mature,” she said. “I left the foot off the pedal a little bit. But she still had to make it.”