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Mi Hyun Kim Wins Betsy King


Mi Hyun Kim gave each of her pursuers one last chance to catch her Sunday. They went 0-for-3 and the rookie had her second LPGA Tour victory.

The 22-year-old Kim shot a 2-under 70 to win the rain-delayed $725,000 LPGA First Union Betsy King Classic by one stroke.

She began the day tied with two others, one stroke off the lead, finished with a 72-hole total of 8-under 280 and earned $108,750. She won the State Farm Rail Classic over Labor Day Weekend for her first LPGA victory.

The start of the final round at the 6,075-yard Berkleigh Country Club course was delayed for four hours because of heavy rain, and the leaders played the last few holes in virtual darkness.

Hall of Famer Beth Daniel, who began the day with a one-stroke lead at 7 under, shot a 72 and finished tied for with Jenny Lidback, who closed with a 69, and Helen Dobson, who had a 71.

All three missed an opportunity to catch Kim when she put her approach on No. 17 into a creek and took a drop for her only bogey of the back nine.

"I felt like all the work I put in the last three days went out the window on that shot," Kim said through an interpreter.

Dobson hit the pin with her approach on the same hole but missed a 5-foot birdie putt. Lidback then missed a 4-footer for birdie on the same hole and Daniel was inches short on a 6-foot birdie putt on 18.

"I hit the ball well enough to win but I let it get away," said Daniel, who has not won since 1995. "The bottom line was that I didn't putt well. I had 36 putts today and you're not going to win many tournaments with that."

The victory was worth $108,750 to Kim, a native of Seoul, South Korea, who said she knew that she was being seriously challenged on the back nine.

"Before the turn I didn't feel much pressure," she said. "But I really got nervous on the back nine and I didn't play my normal game."

After a bad drive on No. 1 led to a bogey, Kim birdied No. 2 with a 7-foot putt. She took the lead for good with a birdie on No. 5 by putting her approach inches from the hole, and made the turn at 9 under after birdies with short putts on 7 and 9.

Marisa Baena, who shot a final-round 70, and Jill McGill, who had a 71, finished three strokes back.

Betsy King, a Hall of Famer and the host of the tournament, had a 73 and finished in a group of four at 4-under 284.

©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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