Sports Outside the Beltway

In-Kyung Kim wins the State Farm Classic

This was her second career LPGA triumph. IK won last year’s Longs Drugs Championship. From AFP-

South Korea’s In-Kyung Kim fired a seven-under par 65 Sunday to capture the LPGA State Farm Classic, winning her second career tour title by one stroke over compatriot Se Ri Pak.

Kim, whose prior triumph came in the 2008 Longs Drugs Challenge, finished 72 holes on 17-under par 271, edging five-time major winner Pak. Koreans Hee-Won Han and Jee Young Lee and American Angela Stanford shared third on 273.

Kim opened with a birdie on the par-5 first, added back-to-back birdies at the par-3 fifth and par-5 sixth before a bogey at seven which she answered with a birdie on the eighth.

A four-under run on the back nine brought Kim the triumph, with birdies at the par-4 11th, the par-5 13th and 18th and par-3 17th holes.

Pak opened with three birdies and sandwiched two more at six and eight around her lone birdie of the round. She matched Kim with birdies on 13 and 16 but fell one stroke short of her first title since 2007.

Next weekend is the LPGA Championship. A tournament Pak won in 1998, 2002, and 2006. Her dramatic 06 victory was at Bulle Rock, where play will begin this Thursday also. Based on this, and Se Ri’s strong finish at the State Farm, she has be considered in the mix of golfers able to win the 2nd LPGA major championship of 2009.

Inky has to be in that group also. She is currently the 10th ranked golfer in the world, and was 8th on the LPGA money list going into today. After the win today, In Kyung could be 2nd on the money list only to Cristie Ker.

To win the State Farm, Inky didn’t just have to hold off a strong challenge from Hall of Famer Se Ri Pak, but also from Hee Won Han and Amy Hung. The State Farm for the third consecutive year featured one of the best finishes of the year. Will the tournament be back in 2010? Stay tuned.

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