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Golf: Malaysia’s Michelle Koh snares first pro title at Shanghai Classic

Michelle Koh, 24, became the first Malaysian to win on the China LPGA. Photos: China LPGA.

Michelle Koh, 24, became the first Malaysian to win on the China LPGA. Photos: China LPGA.

June 14, 2015: Michelle Koh captured her first pro title on Sunday when the Malaysian closed with a sizzling six-under-par 66 to win the CTBC Shanghai Ladies Classic by two strokes at Tianma Country Club. Koh, 24, became the first Malaysian to win on the China LPGA Tour in its seven-year history, earning RMB120,000.

 

In the first China LPGA Tour event to feature a full flight of LPGA of Taiwan Tour players competing in mainland China, Koh played spoiler at the co-sanctioned RMB800,000 tournament, finishing at 10-under 206 in the 54-hole tournament.

 

Overnight co-leader Cheng Ssu-chia of Chinese Taipei finished runner-up after the rookie pro carded her only birdie of the day on the final hole for an even-par 72. Chinese veterans Yan Panpan (69), Pan Yanhong (69) – who both played with Koh – and Ye Ziqi (72) shared third on seven-under with Jang So-young (70) of South Korea and Titiya Plucksataporn (66) of Thailand.

 

Koh came out firing with six birdies through the first 12 holes, then played par golf back to the clubhouse in a bogey-free round.

 

“My putter should get the credit. I didn’t hit so close, but I made some nice putts,” said the second-year pro from Kuantan, a former Malaysian amateur champion who played college golf at Campbell University in the USA.

 

“At the turn I heard I was tied for the lead, but I just played my game. On the back nine I made two more birdies. I watched the leaderboard at the last two holes and I felt a little bit of pressure, but I was pleased that I could play with two winners, Yan Panpan and Pan Yanhong. They were nice and said some inspiring words to me.”

 

Taiwanese teenager Cheng-Ssu-chia finished runner-up as she continues to seek her first title since turning pro.

Taiwanese teenager Cheng-Ssu-chia finished runner-up as she continues to seek her first title since turning pro.

Cheng stumbled in her quest for her first pro title as the 18-year-old could not mount a challenge while playing in the final group with overnight co-leader Supamas Sangchan (75) of Thailand.

 

“I missed some chances, which is disappointing. After the front nine I saw the leaderboard and I felt I could lift that trophy,” said Cheng, who won four pro tournaments as an amateur and was runner-up in last year’s CTBC Ladies Open.

 

“This is my second runner-up at a CTBC-sponsored event and it is the first time I have played as a CTBC player. But I think I took a step forward to a first pro win, which was nice.”

 

Supamas finished equal eighth, five strokes behind Koh, in a group of five players that included top Chinese rookie Shi Yuting (73). Zhang Yunjie was the top amateur as the Hainan Island teenager shot a three-under 69 to finish on even-par.

 

Chinese Taipei’s Yu Pei-lin closed with a 65, the low round of the week, helped by a hole-in-one at the fifth hole. Using a seven-iron, the veteran pro’s ball found the cup on the 160-yard hole to win her a massage armchair. It was Yu’s 12th hole-in-one and third ace in competition.

 

CTBC Shanghai Ladies Classic (China LPGA), Tianma CC, Shanghai, China

206 – Michelle Koh (MAL) 70-70-66

208 – Cheng Ssu-chia (TWN) 68-68-72

209 – Yan Panpan 70-70-69, Pan Yanhong 69-71-69, Titiya Plucksataporn (THA) 72-71-66,Ye Ziqi 70-67-72, Jang So-young (KOR) 72-67-70

211 – Shi Yuting 70-68-73, Narisara Kerdrit (THA) 72-72-67, Yu Pei-lin (TWN) 76-70-65, Wichanee Meechai (THA) 69-69-73, Supamas Sangchan (THA) 67-69-75

212 – Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras (THA) 67-73-72

213 – Thanuttra Boonraksasat (THA) 69-72

214 – Shih Huei-ju (TWN) 70-74-70, Ye Li-ying 71-72-71, Zhang Na 70-74-70, Wu Sha 73-71-70, Chen Liqing 70-71-73, Pimpadsorn Sangkagaro (THA) 74-70-70

215 – Kumi Uchiyama (JPN) 67-73-75, Tian Hong 70-70-75, Zhang Jienalin 71-71-73, Chen Yu-ju (TWN) 71-73-71

Note: Players mainland Chinese unless stated       

 

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

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