North Texas golfer falls short in LPGA bid

Martin, Gerina Piller hug

SYLVANIA, Ohio (AP) — In-Kyung Kim rallied to win the Marathon Classic on Sunday to become the second two-time winner this season on the LPGA Tour.

Two strokes behind 18-year-old Nelly Korda entering the round, Kim birdied six of the first nine holes and finished with an 8-under 63 for a four-stroke victory over Lexi Thompson.

“I had a great day,” Kim said. “I have been hitting it very solid over the few days, and today I was feeling really good about my putting before going out. I wasn’t expecting to go very low, but I did my best, and sometimes without expectation, just, I guess, it works out.”

Kim also won the ShopRite LPGA Classic in June in New Jersey. The six-time LPGA Tour winner joined fellow South Korean player So Yeon Ryu as the only multiple winners this season.

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After playing the front nine in 6-under 28, the 29-year-old Kim and added birdies on Nos. 15 and 16. She finished at 21-under 263 at Highland Meadows.

“You have to hit the fairways,” Kim said. “Some holes are very shaping holes, and I was very comfortable playing those holes, and I feel like I took advantage of that, birdied three of the par 5s. … Today, the pin positions were a little bit comfortable for me. I’ve been hitting little draws this week, and when the pin is tucked on the left side, I was having a hard time.”

In 2010 at Highland Meadows, she lost to Na Yeon Choi in a playoff.

“I always liked the golf course,” Kim said. “I had a playoff before and I just have great memory.”

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Thompson closed with a 66 for her fifth runner-up finish of the year. She won the Kingsmill Championship in May.

“Overall, I’m very happy with the way I played,” Thompson said. “I was hitting a cut around the golf course, and that’s usually not what I do. But I managed to put up some good scores.”

North Texan Gerina Piller, still looking for her first LPGA Tour victory after leading after each of the first two rounds, had a 68 to tie for third at 15 under with Peiyun Chien (68).

“I didn’t come away with the win, but it doesn’t mean I didn’t have a winning performance,” Piller said. “I’m looking forward to taking the week off and heading over to the British.”

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Sung Hyun Park, coming off a victory last week in the U.S. Women’s Open in New Jersey, tied for sixth at 13 under after a 70.

Korda shot a 74 to tie for eighth at 12 under.

“The ups and downs are what I love about this sport,” Korda tweeted. “It constantly challenges you to improve either yourself or your game. British next!!”

Lydia Ko, winless since her victory last year at Highland Meadows, tied for 20th at 9 under after a 69. She also won the 2014 event.