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Golf: Kim Hyo-joo holds off Feng Shanshan to retain Kumho Tire title

World No. 4 Kim Hyo-joo beat World No. 6 Feng Shanshan by four strokes to win in Weihai. Photo: CLPGA.

World No. 4 Kim Hyo-joo beat World No. 6 Feng Shanshan by four strokes to win in Weihai. Photo: CLPGA.

July 5, 2015: World No. 4 Kim Hyo-joo successfully defended her Kumho Tire Ladies Open title on Sunday when the South Korean closed with an even-par 72 for a four-stroke victory in Shandong province.

 

The 19-year-old finished at 10-under 206 at Weihai Point Gold Resort to earn US$89,000 for her 13th career victory. Among her titles are four wins on the China LPGA Tour, including the Hyundai China Ladies Open, which she claimed for a second time in December.

 

Feng Shanshan put up a late charge as the China No. 1 fired a four-under 68 to finish runner-up in the tournament co-sanctioned by the China LPGA Tour and LPGA Tour of Korea, while Korea’s Jang Su-Yeon (71) was third, a shot further back.

 

Jang Ha-na, the World No. 22, closed with a 75 to tie for fourth with Korean compatriot Kim Bo-ah (68) seven shots behind the winner.

 

Starting the day with a three-shot lead, Kim Hyo-joo played conservatively over the seaside layout overlooking Bohai Bay. She posted three birdies and three bogeys, including one at the last, but never allowed her competition to get close.

 

“This is my first time to successfully defend a title. I’m pleased I could do it,” said a smiling Kim, who is playing full-time on the LPGA Tour this season for the first time.

 

“In the first half of the year, I haven’t led during the final round for a while. I was a little bit emotional, but after two bogeys on the front nine I returned to normal. I didn’t feel comfortable out there. It is a challenge for me and forced me to play careful. The US Women’s Open is coming and I feel confident and ready. It’s a good warm-up.”

 

After falling out of contention following a second-round 73, Feng started the day eight shots off the lead. The World No. 6 quickly got her game going on Sunday when she reeled off six birdies in her first 10 holes. It was as close as the 25-year-old would get as she would follow with three consecutive bogeys starting at the 11th hole, before posting a birdie three at the last to secure second.

 

“The pin positions were tricky. It was hard to make a par, let alone a birdie. I made two three-putt bogeys and missed another short par putt. But I also made a couple of unexpected birdie putts, so it was the best result,” said Feng, winner of the Buick Ladies Championship in May.

 

“I’m happy with my approach. I never give up for a minute for three days. I did a great job. The finish was good, even though I wasn’t able to catch up to the winner. But I didn’t set a goal entering this week. The media all mentioned to me that I should be better than last year (when she tied for seventh). I did it. I’m glad.”

 

The China LPGA Tour now takes a summer break and will return for the Wuhan Challenge from September 3-5.

 

Kumho Tire Ladies Open (CLPGA/KLPGA), Weihai Point Golf Resort, Weihai, Shandong, China

206 – Kim Hyo-joo (KOR) 68-66-72

210 – Feng Shanshan (CHN) 69-73-68

211 – Jang Su-Yeon (KOR) 73-67-71

213 – Jang Ha-na (KOR) 70-66-75, Kim Bo-ah (KOR) 74-71-68

214 – Choi Yoo-lim (KOR) 70-70-74, Nam So-yeon (KOR) 73-70-71,
 Ji Han-sol (KOR) 68-69-77

215 – Kim Ji-hyun (KOR) 71-75-69

216 – Kim Cho-hui (KOR) 69-71-76, Chung Jae-eun (KOR) 69-76-71, Kim Bo-bae (KOR) 76-71-69, Hwang Jiae (KOR) 70-69-77, Park Se-yeong (KOR) 65-75-76, Park Seong-weon (KOR) 79-68-69

 

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

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