McFeely live blog: A Lim Kim wins U.S. Women's Open by overtaking Fargo's Amy Olson
Former North Dakota State golfer was seeking first professional victory in women's golf's biggest tournament
HOUSTON — South Korea's A Lim Kim won the U.S. Women's Open when she birdied the final three holes and overtook Fargo's Amy Olson. Lim finished at 3-under-par, while Olson and Jin Young Ko of South Korea finished 2-under-par.
WHAT A FINISH!— U.S. Women's Open (USGA) (@uswomensopen) December 14, 2020
A Lim Kim with birdies on 16, 17 *and* 18 to take the outright lead at the 75th #USWomensOpen#WomenWorthWatching pic.twitter.com/gqe0UNkVqj
Olson's last gasp, a shot from the fairway on No. 18 that she needed to hole to tie Kim, ended 15 feet from the cup. She made the putt for birdie. She gave a small fist pump and then broke into tears, showing the weight she carried during the 5-hour final round.
Olson's father-in-law, father of her husband Grant, died unexpectedly Saturday night. There was some question Olson would play in the final round.
Olson made a fine save from a greenside bunker the par-4 No. 17 to just give herself a chance.
Olson bogeyed the par-3 16th after hitting her tee shot over the green into thick rough. She couldn't save par and fell two behind.
Olson had missed a long birdie putt off the fringe on No. 15 and made a difficult four-foot come-backer for par.
Kim hit a wedge about 12 feet from the hole on the par-4 18th hole and made the birdie putt, punctuating it with a fist pump.
Olson had a two-shot lead at one point on the back nine.
A Lim Kim (-1) is not going away!— U.S. Women's Open (USGA) (@uswomensopen) December 14, 2020
She went on to make this short birdie putt to pull within one of Olson's lead.#USWomensOpen | #WomenWorthWatching pic.twitter.com/WyeyixbPaW
12 holes in the books. 2 clear of the field.@AmyOlsonGolf (-2) is the only player under par in the 75th #USWomensOpen.#WomenWorthWatching pic.twitter.com/jQDbryyOHF— U.S. Women's Open (USGA) (@uswomensopen) December 14, 2020
Solo leader!@AmyOlsonGolf (-2) is alone at the top of the 75th #USWomensOpen leader board as the final group heads to the 11th tee.#WomenWorthWatching pic.twitter.com/DDB0u3eDfi— U.S. Women's Open (USGA) (@uswomensopen) December 14, 2020
The tournament, the premier in women's golf, was played at Champions Golf Club. Olson led until Kim hit an iron shot within 18 inches of the hole at the par-4 17th hole and tapped in the easy putt.
Jin Young Ko of South Korea finished 2-under-par. Japan's Hinako Shibuno was tied with Olson at 1-under.
Olson made a clutch three-foot par putt on the 14th to remain tied just before Kim made her birdie at 18.
Olson was seeking her first professional victory after a record-setting collegiate career at North Dakota State, where she won 20 events. That is the most in NCAA history.
Olson began the day one shot back of Shibuno and bogeyed three consecutive holes to fall three shots behind. But consecutive birdies at Nos. 5 and 6 and a par at the seventh, combined with a bogey by Shibuno at No. 7, vaulted Olson to the top of the leaderboard.
— U.S. Women's Open (USGA) (@uswomensopen) December 14, 2020
After bogeys on 2-3-4, @AmyOlsonGolf has bounced back nicely with birdies on 5 and 6 to get back within one of Shibuno. #USWomensOpen | #WomenWorthWatching pic.twitter.com/K6tMJll3ri
Olson pounded a drive down the middle of the fairway on the 524-yard par-5 13th hole and followed it with a fairway wood within 100 yards. She punched a low wedge shot within 15 feet of the cup to give her a chance at birdie.
She narrowly missed the birdie putt as slid by the right side of the cup, but she tapped in for par.
Olson hit another solid iron into the par-3 12th and her first putt lagged to a few feet, which she made.
Olson made a two-putt par on the 11th to expand her lead as Shibuno bogeyed.
Olson, as she has done all day, drove the ball in the middle of the fairway on the par-4 11th hole and hit an approach iron about 25 feet from the hole.
Shibuno's second shot from the fairway flared to the right of the green. Leaving her a difficult chance to save par.
Olson's drive on No. 10 was in the fairway and her iron approach from 154 yards stopped about 20 feet from the hole.
She two-putted for par. Shibuno failed to get up-and-down, made bogey, and Olson took a one-shot lead with eight holes remaining.
It was a somber weekend for Olson. Her father-in-law died unexpectedly Saturday nigh t. Grant had flown to Houston to watch Amy's weekend play, but had to fly back to be with his family in Minnesota.
For the first time since Friday, Hinako Shibuno no longer holds the solo lead in the 75th #USWomensOpen.@AmyOlsonGolf (-2) is now tied for the lead at Champions Golf Club. pic.twitter.com/9qDRIUESUj— U.S. Women's Open (USGA) (@uswomensopen) December 14, 2020
The Open's final round was delayed until Monday because of a thunderstorm on Sunday. Olson shot 67-72-71 in the first three rounds, including a hole in one early in round during Thursday's opening round .
Olson had a chance to win a major championship in 2018 when she led the Evian Championship in France by one shot going into the 72nd hole. But she double-bogeyed, missing a 10-foot putt that would have sent the tournament into extra holes, and Angela Stanford took the title.
The U.S. Women's Open is considered the most coveted championship in women's golf. A victory would vault Olson into the highest levels of the game's history. Past U.S. Open champions include Patty Berg, Mickey Wright, Babe Zaharias, Louise Suggs, Betsy Rawls, JoAnne Carner, Pat Bradley, Hollis Stacy, Betsy King, Juli Inkster, Carrie Webb and Annika Sorenstam among others.
This was the 75th U.S. Women's Open. A victory is worth $1 million and a five-year exemption the LPGA Tour.
Some of great swings to watch as the @uswomensopen finishes today:— Brandel Chamblee (@chambleebrandel) December 14, 2020
A Lim Kim (longest on KLPGA)
Yuka Saso (just 19 and very powerful)
Jin Young Kim (number 1 in the world)
Yealimi Noh (just 19)
Moriya Jutanugarn (shot maker)
Any Olson ( too good not to win soon)