‘It sucks’: Aussie gun blows huge lead

Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give - Final Round
Grace Kim lost in a playoff. Picture: Raj Mehta/Getty Images

Aussie young gun Grace Kim conceded the “the nerves kicked in” after letting slip a five-shot lead in regulation and three more playoff hole chances in her quest for a second LPGA title in just 18 months on tour.

Kim lost on the third hole of a playoff against two major champions, including the reigning player of the year, to finish runner-up at the Meijer LPGA Classic.

It was the second time this year Kim, 23, lost a big lead having been in front by four shots at the halfway mark of the LA Championship in April before fellow Australian Hannah Green came over the top to win.

Kim’s five-shot buffer was also the biggest third-round lead of the year.

But she opened with two bogeys to start her fourth round and the lead was gone inside four holes as the chasers came after her. A crucial, lone back-nine birdie was enough to get Kim into a playoff with former world No.1 Lilia Vu and Lexi Thompson, who has announced this will be her last year on tour.

All three made clutch putts to birdie the first two playoff holes, both at the par-5 18th.

But only Vu, a two-time major champion playing for the first time since March., could make birdie after the showdown moved to the fourth hole.

She got up and down from a greenside bunker to complete a memorable victory.

“Going the three playoff holes with the player of the year last year, two major champions and obviously Lexi just being an icon for women’s golf says a lot about my game I guess,” Kim said after walking off the course in Michigan.

“It was nerve-wracking for sure to be in that atmosphere with the two greatest player of all-time and to be around these crowds.

“Obviously didn’t get it done. Yeah, it sucks, but I think I can see myself I guess in the future as well just how much I’ve grown.

“It’s only my second year out, and to be in this position it’s, as you can tell, overwhelming.

Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give - Final Round
Grace Kim reacts after missing a putt on the 18th green (Photo by Raj Mehta/Getty Images)

“All the credit goes to my team to push me this far.

“To get to these opportunities is, you know, unbelievable. To be able to play against these players in certain conditions and playoff for three holes, I think we all know we played some good damn golf.”

Kim had to settle for a share of the runner-up prize that netted her a $355,000 payday, also missing out on the chance for a big world rankings bump ahead of the June 24 cut-off for Olympic qualifying.

Hannah Green and Minjee Lee, both ranked in the top 10, look set to again represent Australia in Paris.