CARLSBAD, Calif. – Hee Kyung Seo ran away with the inaugural Kia Classic for her first LPGA Tour title Sunday, shooting a 2-under 70 for a six-stroke victory in a final round marked by Michelle Wie’s latest rules gaffe.
Seo, who is not a member of the LPGA, received one of the three sponsor’s exemptions to get into the tournament. The 23-year-old Seo, an 11-time on the Korean LPGA Tour, can chose to become an LPGA member.
After opening with a 70 at La Costa, Seo took the lead with a second-round 67 and had a 69 on Saturday en route to a 12-under 276 total.
South Koreans swept the top four spots, with Inbee Park (65) finishing second, and Jiyai Shin (70) and Jee Young Lee (70) tying for third at 5 under.
Wie was penalized two strokes for grounding her club in a hazard after hitting out of the water near the 11th green, giving her a double-bogey 7. She was notified of the penalty by LPGA rules official Doug Brecht a few holes later. At the time, she was five strokes behind Seo. Wie ended up with a 72 to tie for fifth at 4 under.