Kim wins third title as Lewis comes close yet again

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Sei Young Kim took a commanding lead in the Rolex Rookie of the Year race with her victory Sunday at the Blue Bay LPGA, Stacy Lewis endured her eighth second-place finish since her last victory in 2014, and Rolex world No. 1 Lydia Ko logged her tour-best 16th top-10 finish this season.

Kim’s 7-foot birdie at the final hole closed out a 2-under-par 70 and gave her a one-shot victory over Lewis (70), Candie Kung (71) and Kim Kaufman (69).

At 2-under 286, Kim claimed her third title this year, all on islands. She also won the Pure Silk in the Bahamas and the Lotte Championship in Hawaii.

“I was really nervous on that last putt,” Kim said. “I could hear my heart pound.”

Lewis and Kung had birdie chances at the last, Lewis missing from 20 feet and Kung from 10 feet.

With a birdie at the 11th hole, Lewis took a two-shot lead in her bid to win her first title since the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship 16 months ago. She missed a 4-foot putt for par at the 13th with Kim converting a birdie chance. The two-shot swing pulled Kim into a tie for the lead.

It was Lewis’ sixth second-place finish this season, her 12th over the last two seasons. She won three times last year, sweeping honors as the Rolex Player of the Year, Vare Trophy winner and the LPGA money title winner.

Kim’s victory was worth 150 Rookie of the Year points, moving her to 1,422 points for the season, 247 points ahead of Hyo Joo Kim with just three LPGA events remaining this year.