SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Michelle Wie drained a monster birdie putt from off the green on the final hole to record a stunning one-shot victory at the HSBC Women’s World Championship after a thrilling final round of low scoring and late drama on Sunday.
Wie’s seventh birdie of the day completed a bogey-free round of 65 as she finished on 17-under 271 for the tournament, a stroke ahead of American compatriots Danielle Kang and Nelly Korda, South Korea’s Jenny Shin and Canada’s Brooke Henderson.
“It was crazy, I still don’t know what’s going on right now, my head’s running at a million miles an hour,” the 28-year-old, who led going into the final round a year ago but started five shots behind this time, said at the trophy ceremony.
“I wanted to win really badly, especially after what happened last year, I had some unfinished business. I knew if I shot seven, eight under I’d have a chance and that was my one and only goal.”
The victory was Wie’s first since she claimed the 2014 U.S. Open title, the American pumping her fist and galloping towards the green as her 45-foot putt dropped into the heart of the cup before she had an anxious wait for the final group to finish.
Overnight leader Korda nailed her approach to within nine feet on the last but the teenager’s putt to get into a playoff drifted right as her hopes of following up sister Jessica’s win in Thailand last week evaporated on the 72nd green.
Shin, in the group ahead of Wie, had stormed into the lead with eight birdies in 11 holes and she reached the 18th with a one-shot cushion, but an errant approach and duffed chip led to her first bogey of the day and opened the door for her pursuers.
Korda had started the final round a stroke ahead of Kang, who was three strokes clear of the others, but neither were able to pick up shots while the rest of the field were eating into their advantage as the top of the leaderboard became congested.
Earlier, Kim Sei-young briefly threatened to shoot an LPGA-record matching 59 but a bogey on her 16th hole stalled her progress and the Korean had to settle for a course record 10-under 62 to finish in a tie for 10th on 12-under-par.
American Angela Stanford and Germany’s Caroline Masson both fired matching 63s around the New Tanjong Course but at the end of a thrilling Sunday, Wie was left to savour a victory that was sealed in the most dramatic of fashions.
“It’s been a while since I stood up here so it feels pretty good,” Wie added after notching her fifth win on the tour. “We consider this to be Asia’s major and to win this event means the world to me.”
Wie described her winning putt as “the best of her career” and while she felt vindicated having blown her victory chance a year ago, Korda, Kang and Shin in particular will be left to rue their inability to make the most of promising positions.
“I think I’ve done a great job today. The nerves didn’t get me at all. The nerves that I got on 18, I think any human being would experience,” Shin admitted.
“So I handled it very calmly. I wasn’t rushing. I wasn’t — I wasn’t too nervous. It’s just the adrenaline, really. So if I had this opportunity again this year, I’d probably handle it the same exact way. Oh well.”
Reporting by John O'Brien, editing by Nick Mulvenney and Sudipto Ganguly