Kim cites control as key to success

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Kim cites control as key to success


South Korean golfer Kim Sei-young kisses the trophy from the JTBC Founders Cup after her win Monday. [AP/NEWSIS]

South Korea’s Kim Sei-young has done it again. After grabbing three wins in 2015 to become the 2015 LPGA Tour rookie of the year, Kim had a phenomenal performance in Arizona to win the JTBC Founders Cup. Kim looked nothing like a golfer only in her second year in the LPGA. The JoongAng Ilbo sat down with Kim following her win on Monday to discuss her performance in the event and her prospects for the future.

How does it feel to win?

Honestly, I was worried sick after the third round. It all came down to the final round. After considering how I ought to play in the fourth round, I decided that I will do whatever I can do in my power and leave the rest to the fate. I think it worked. It still doesn’t make sense that I scored what I scored but I am thrilled to win.

Your play in the fourth round was truly remarkable. What went through your mind in the final round?

My goal this week was somewhat different from previous events. It was to control my temper and remain composed whatever happens. I often lost control of my temper and that was reflected in my performance. This time, I felt it necessary to ease up and just do what I do best. I always had the determination to win titles. But I went a little overboard the last few times. So I decided to empty my mind and go back to the mentality of a rookie.

You outpaced the rest of the players from the beginning in the fourth round. But what do you think was the decisive moment in the final round?

I had good shots in the final round, grabbing five of my eight birdies before the ninth hole. But I think par-5 on the 11th hole was the most crucial, when I grabbed an eagle.

I think it is safe to say that the last round of the Founders Cup was the best in your career since you joined the LPGA. What do you think?

There is no doubt about that. I thought this course always suited me well but I never expected to get out with as good of a result as I did. I was determined to go at each hole with the attitude of starting from scratch. I did not care about the score. In the past, I would play a little loose if I was ahead by few shots. On the contrary, when I was behind, I would go at it aggressive. But today, I concentrated on my own game. So even when I was ahead by quite a bit, I just went aggressive the entire round. It was a good opportunity for me to learn how I should approach my game to put out the best performance.

Did your mistake from the third round affect your fourth round in any way?

I was definitely affected by the sloppy finish in third round. I was three shots ahead after the eagle on 13th but I bogeyed the 16th and 17th holes. I faltered in the late third round and that lit my motivation on fire. I practiced until the sunset after the third round but I couldn’t get myself to sleep. So I came out at six in the morning to practice couple of hours before the final round. I concentrated on my fade shots and that paid off.

How do you think today’s win will impact your career?

The win gave me the vision for how I should approach this game. I realized the importance of going back to the basics. It also contributed to my goal this season, which is grabbing four LPGA wins. I think it also helped my Olympics chances.

You tied the LPGA record while legendary golfers were watching. What happened afterwards?

Some of the LPGA founders gave me a hug afterwards and I was exhilarated. They told me to keep pushing forward. Although I couldn’t understand fully what they said, I think incidents like this are what compels me to go forward in the sport. I would like to follow their footsteps and one day, I hope to be an influential golfer that affects other golfers as well. I think I am prepared to bear the task.

Annika Sorenstam, one of the most celebrated golfers in history, sent the LPGA a congratulatory message after you matched her LPGA record. How did that make you feel?

Honestly, I read a book about Sorenstam before this season. It is such an honor to receive a message from someone like Sorenstam. As I said, I hope to be able to follow the footsteps of legendary golfer like Sorenstam.

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