There was never any doubt about IK Kim’s win today at Buckinghamshire Golf Club. She started the final round of the ISPS Handa Ladies European Masters with a four stroke lead over Aussie amateur Minjee Lee and she closed the deal with five strokes to spare. Kim just couldn’t be caught but directly below her there was another shakeup on the board. Finishing at -14, Aussie Nikki Campbell edged out Minjee Lee for the runner-up spot. Lee slowed down a bit in the final round, carded a 73 one-over-par, and finished the Ladies European Masters with a share of 11th place. Northern Ireland’s Stephanie Meadow, who tied Kim’s third round 63 with one of her own today, jumped up the leaderboard from her 25th place start to a share of third on 11-under-par, alongside South African Lee-Anne Pace and Germany’s Caroline Masson.
The Ladies European Masters was Kim’s fifth victory as a professional, her first since the 2010 Lorena Ochoa Invitational. World ranked 24th, Kim delivered four splendid sub-par rounds of 71, 68, 63 & 68 to earn the championship.
I just had a great time. It’s great to win the tournament and this is my first time playing the course so I’m really honored to win . . . I feel like I’ve been hitting the ball really well and putting really well so I just had to go out there and enjoy myself. – IK Kim
Meadow, who’s heading to Final Qualifying at Southport & Ainsdale for the coming week’s RICOH Women’s British Open at Royal Birkdale, was equally enthusiastic about the performance she delivered at Buckinghamshire:
It’s been a dream . . . to play in this environment. US Open and here: the bigger the better! It’s more fun. Being out here playing for a crowd is what I love to do.
On to the RICOH Women’s British Open
Perhaps she’ll get to do it again next weekend! LET rookies Amy Boulden and Sally Watson, along with Hannah Jun are already celebrating. As the leading three LET members not otherwise exempted, they qualified for the Women’s British Open with their finishes today.
Wales’ Boulden and United States’ Jun finished at -9, sharing 11th place with Minjee Lee, and Scotland’s Watson finished at -6, sharing 18th place with American Katie Burnett.
This was Boulden’s second qualification for a major championship at Buckinghamshire Golf Club in the space of seven weeks, as she also qualified for the US Women’s Open at the same golf course.
Local player Annabel Dimmock also gave the galleries reason to cheer as she eagled the ninth and holed her bunker shot on the last green for a 67 to end in a share of 27th place on her Ladies European Tour debut. The 17-year-old amateur from Wentworth has just joined the Ladies European Tour Access Series and is now heading north in her attempt to earn her major championship debut this week.
Defending champion Karrie Webb finished at -5 with a share of 20th place but likely pleased with the fine performance her protege Minjee Lee delivered, as well as the overall strong showing of Aussies Nikki Campbell (-13, 2nd), Sarah Kemp (-10, 6th) and Sarah-Jane Smith (-8, T14th).
Women’s golf fans are turning their attention now to the RICOH Women’s British Open. The field for the British Open will be finalized at the Monday qualifier, LPGA players are gathering at Royal Birkdale, and the real work of competing in the year’s third Major will begin on Thursday, July 10. Watch for my preview of the Open early in the week and ongoing coverage of the Open here at ProGolfNow.