Sport Asia
Don't Miss

Golf: Kim Hyo-joo, 19, clinches year’s seventh title at China Open

World No. 9 Kim Hyo-joo won her seventh title of the year at the China Ladies Open, which was held for the first time at Mission Hills Shenzhen. Photo: China LPGA.

World No. 9 Kim Hyo-joo won her seventh title of the year at the China Ladies Open, which was held for the first time at Mission Hills Shenzhen. Photo: China LPGA.

December 14, 2014: Korean teen sensation Kim Hyo-joo won the Hyundai China Ladies Open for the second time in three years after the World No. 9 carded a closing seven-under 65 for a two-stroke victory at Mission Hills Shenzhen.

 

The 19-year-old – who first won the event in December 2012, two months after she turned pro – finished the US$550,000 tournament on 14-under 202, two ahead of compatriot Chun In-gee (66) over the famed World Cup Course designed by Jack Nicklaus.

 

Kim earned US$110,000 for the victory in the co-sanctioned event, which marks the conclusion of the 2014 China LPGA Tour and the first event on the 2015 Ladies PGA Tour of Korea. It was also the ninth consecutive year that a Korean had won the tournament since its inauguration in 2006.

 

Kim, 19, carded a closing 65 to finish two clear of Chun In-gee.

Kim, 19, carded a closing 65 to finish two clear of Chun In-gee.

“The win is great. It’s a great start to a new season. I think Korean fans won’t forget me, even if I go to the US to play,” said Kim, who will play on the LPGA next year after becoming the third-youngest player to win a major at September’s Evian Championship in France.

 

As well as winning the first major she competed in, she won five KLPGA titles to win the 2014 KLPGA Order of Merit, and her win in Mission Hills marked her seventh title of the year.

 

The Wonju native started strongly on Sunday when she reeled off five consecutive birdies from the second hole. She posted three more birdies, only dropping a shot at the par-three 13th hole.

 

“My iron play was fantastic on the front nine. I left many birdie chances within 10 feet and I converted some,” Kim said. “But I saw the leaderboard entering the back nine and I saw that In-gee made a great run and was very close to me, which made me more focused on my game.”

 

Chun, 20, briefly caught Kim at the 14th hole when she registered the eighth birdie of her round to get to 13-under. It was as close as she would get, however, as the World No. 24 played par golf back to the clubhouse before a bogey five at the last.

 

“I’m not disappointed with my result, but a little bit disappointed with the last hole. I tried to have a bogey-free round, but the last hole I made a mistake and three-putted from the back edge of the green,” Chun said.

 

“I’m satisfied with this round. I didn’t know Kim’s score, so I didn’t think about the win. I just played my game. I like China, I like the Chinese fans and I would come back next year.”

 

China No. 2 Lin Xiyu secured the China LPGA Tour Order of Merit title when the 18-year-old closed with a 68 to finish at nine-under 207, tied for third with 2013 champion Jang Ha-na (67), the World No. 23 and second highest-ranked player in the field.

 

Lin, an LPGA rookie this year, put up a valiant fight to become the first Chinese to win the national championship when she carded five birdies through her first 13 holes. However, a double-bogey six at the 14th proved her undoing as she fell out of contention before a birdie-three at the 17th hole gave her a share of third.

 

“I’m happy with this finish. I saw the leaderboard at the turn and I knew a win was far away from me, but this is my best finish in this event,” said the Guangzhou native, who won back-to-back tournaments in Hainan Island last month. “For the past month I played great and now I have won the money title. That’s great. That’s awesome.”

 

Lin, Pan Yanhong and one other will earn a place in next year’s US Women’s Open for being the top three players in the money race.

 

Cheng Ssu-chia (68) of Taiwan was the tournament’s top amateur after finishing at four-under 212. The 17-year-old announced earlier that she will turn pro for the 2015 season.

 

Wang Ziyi was the best of the Chinese amateurs as the 16-year-old carded her third consecutive round of 72 to finish the tournament at even-par 216.

 

Hyundai China Ladies Open, Mission Hills Shenzhen (World Cup Course), Guangdong, China

Final Round Leading Scores:

202 – Kim Hyo-joo (KOR) 70-67-65

204 – Chun In-gee (KOR) 69-69-66

207 – Lin Xiyu 68-71-68 (CHN), Jang Ha-na (KOR) 69-71-67

209 – Kim Ji-hyun (KOR) 70-71-68

210 – Ko Jin-young (KOR) 73-69-68, Lee Min-young (KOR) 72-68-70, Yeom Hye-in (KOR) 69-70-71

211 – Yan Jing (CHN) 75-70-66, Kim Ji-hyun2 (KOR) 69-68-74

212 – Shi Yuting 75-71-66, Kim Hae-youn (KOR) 74-70-68, Cheng Ssu-chia* (TWN) 74-70-68, Seo Yeun-jung (KOR) 72-69-71, Kim Char-young (KOR) 66-72-74

213 – Choi He-yong (KOR) 78-71-64, Choi Yoo-lim (KOR) 75-69-69, Jang Ji-hae (KOR) 73-70-70

214 – Choi Hye-jung (KOR) 72-72-70

215 – Byun Hyun-min (KOR) 73-71-71, Hur Mi-jung (KOR) 71-74-70, Kang Yea-lin (KOR) 73-73-69, Kim Hae-rym (KOR) 74-66-75

216 – Wang Ziyi* (CHN) 72-72-72, Lee Jeong-eun (KOR) 72-72-72, Ahn Song-yi (KOR) 74-72-70, Kweon Ji-ram (KOR) 69-77-70, Ha Min-song (KOR) 73-70-70, Lee Mi-hyang (KOR) 75-70-71

* Denotes amateur

 

Source: China LPGA (www.clpga.org); Editing by SportAsia

You must be logged in to post a comment Login