SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. — Trailing Inbee Park by four shots with 18 holes to play, I.K. Kim knew the situation she faced. Even though she tried not to think about it.
“It’s difficult because you know what you have to do, but you can’t really avoid how many shots I’m behind and things like that. So it’s difficult,” Kim said. “If I putted a little better this week, I think I could have pushed her a little bit more.”
Kim matched Park’s final-round 74, but since she started four back, she finished four back. Still, it was enough to give her a solo second-place finish, her best finish at the US Women’s Open and the fifth time she’s had a top-10 finish at this tournament.
Assuming that Park wouldn’t be making many mistakes, Kim wanted to force the issue. A quick start might add pressure, and a birdie at No. 2 drew her within three. But that was as close as Kim would get.
“She said [after the round] she was really comfortable, and I think I made her really comfortable,” Kim said. “I could have pushed her a little bit more. I felt like I had some momentum. I wanted to go out and make some drama, and I thought I had a good opportunity. But how she’s playing and putting, it’s just difficult.”
Korda keeps it simple
Jessica Korda made news Saturday by switching caddies in the middle of her round. No such drama Sunday (her boyfriend, Johnny DelPrete, was on the bag again), just a final-round 73 that left Korda in a tie for seventh. The $94,357 check was her largest of the season.
“It’s a top-10, so I’m not going to complain about that,” Korda said. “Definitely a little bit disappointed with the bogey on the last hole, but it happens for a reason, so it will keep me motivated for next time.”
Korda’s kid sister, Nelly, finished at 22 over and closed with an 81, but it included an eagle on the par-4 fourth hole, which played just 265 yards in the final round. It was the only eagle at Sebonack on Sunday.
Casie Cathrea left little doubt who the low amateur was going to be. Well, Lydia Ko made it interesting, but Cathrea had the low round of the day (along with Shanshan Feng), carding birdies on five of her first eight holes and shooting a 2-under 70. That even included bogeys on her final two holes.
“I was just trying to stay in my own bubble, not get ahead of myself,” said Cathrea, asked about her hot start. “I tried to stay in my own little zone the last nine holes, just trying to finish out. Par was pretty much my friend.”
Cathrea, a 17-year-old bound for Oklahoma State in the fall, finished at 9 over, tied for 25th. Ko, a 16-year-old New Zealander, was two strokes behind Cathrea after a 72.
S. Koreans stay on roll
Players from South Korea — led by Park, obviously — have won the last five LPGA Tour majors, and the last three US Women’s Opens. The last American to win the national open, Paula Creamer, tied for low American honors this year. Creamer (72) and Angela Stanford (74) tied for fourth at 1 over, two shots behind So Yeon Ryu. Joined by 2012 US Women’s Open champion Na Yeon Choi, Ryu (2011 champion) doused Park with champagne on the 18th green after the final putt . . . Stacy Lewis, who came to Sebonack as the second-ranked player in the world hoping to win her first US Women’s Open, tied for 42d instead after a Sunday 78 . . . Remember Ha-Neul Kim, who led after a first-round 66? She followed with rounds of 77-78-76, and tied for 25th . . . Next year’s US Women’s Open will be held at Pinehurst No. 2, the second of back-to-back weeks for national opens on Donald Ross’s Sandhills gem. The men’s tournament will be the week before. Tickets for both events are already on sale.Michael Whitmer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeWhitmer.