Lee motors away in final round for six-stroke Kia Classic win
REUTERS - South Korean Lee Mi-rim turned a close Kia Classic into a procession, charging clear for a six-stroke victory in Carslbad, California on Sunday.
Starting the day one-stroke in front, Lee birdied all five odd-numbered holes on the front nine en route to a seven-under-par 65 on the Aviara course.
Her 20-under 268 total matched the tournament record low set by Cristie Kerr in 2015, when Lee finished runner-up.
"It’s been a long time to be winner of the tournament,” Lee told reporters via a translator after clinching her third LPGA victory at the age of 26.
“So I (was) kind of nervous before I started. But I tried to focus and then it gave me a good result.”
Fellow South Korean Ryu So-yeon and American Austin Ernst tied for second on 14-under in the final tune-up for players before the first major of the season, the ANA Inspiration starting on Thursday.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Ian Ransom)