Phoenix, AZ (SportsNetwork.com) - Hyo Joo Kim closed with a 5-under 67 on Sunday to beat Stacy Lewis by three strokes at the JTBC Founders Cup.
Kim finished her second LPGA Tour win at 21-under-par 267.
"In the morning, I wasn't concentrating on winning because I was playing with Stacy Lewis and as a rookie, I just felt that by playing with her, I would learn a lot from her," Kim said. "So I was just trying to make a good impression as a rookie."
Lewis closed within one shot late in the final round, but 3-putted for bogey at the last to shoot 4-under 68. That left her three back at minus-18. This was her second runner-up finish in the last three events.
Ilhee Lee fired a 66 at Wildfire Golf Club to jump into a share of third place. She was joined at 16-under-par 272 by Mi Hyang Lee (68) and Pornanong Phatlum (67).
World No. 1 Lydia Ko shot 3-under 69 for the third straight day. She headlined a group of five players in sixth place at minus-15. Ko ended alongside Anna Nordqvist (64), Na Yeon Choi (66), Austin Ernst (65) and Sei Young Kim (65).
Hyo Joo Kim opened with a birdie at the second. She gave that stroke back with a bogey at the par-3 fourth. She ran off four straight pars before dropping in a birdie effort on the ninth.
The moved Kim to 17-under and she led by two at the turn. Kim's drive on the 10th stopped under a tree and near a beehive. She asked for a drop away from the tree, but was denied.
Kim chipped out, then hit the green with her third. She 2-putted for a bogey, which trimmed the lead to one.
"I wasn't frustrated or anything. If anything, I was just scared of the bees and I didn't want to be stung by them or anything like that," Kim explained. "So I kept asking if I can get relief and I kept asking and they said, no you can't. So I just swallowed my fears and tried to play the slot as best I could."
Kim atoned for that mistake with a 7-foot birdie putt at 11. The reigning Evian Championship winner poured in a long birdie try on the 12th and made it three in a row with a 3-footer for birdie on No. 13. Kim 2-putted for birdie at 15 for her fourth birdie in five holes.
Despite that burst, Lewis was hanging tough. She played the front nine in 1- under par with two birdies and a bogey.
Around the turn, Lewis also caught fire. She converted back-to-back birdie chances at 12 and 13 to climb to 17-under. Like Kim, Lewis birdied the 15th. Lewis rolled in a 4-foot birdie chance at 16 to move within one.
Kim parred 16 and 17, before converting a 7-footer for birdie and the win at the 18th.
Lewis parred No. 17 before landing in a sand-filled divot at the 18th. She managed to hit the green with her approach, but 3-putted for a closing bogey to slide three behind.
"That back nine was pretty cool, the way we made birdies back and forth and on top of each other. Really, the way I played on the front, to think I could still be within a shot coming up those last few holes was pretty amazing," Lewis admitted. "I'm proud of the way I hung in there. I was in three divots today in the fairway, so that didn't really help things, and I was in a divot there on 18, as well. So I hit a pretty good shot."
NOTES: Kim collected $225,000 for the win and moved to seventh on the money list ... Last year's winner Karrie Webb carded a 3-under 68 to finish tied for 34th at minus-9 ... The tour heads to California next week for the Kia Classic, where Anna Nordqvist will defend her title.