Round 4: Sung Hyun Park Holds On to Win First KLPGA Event
Sung Hyun Park started the day with a five shot lead, but KLPGA history has shown that almost no lead is safe, especially when that leader is a player who has never won before.
The early Sunday action saw a few big names struggle. Notably, In Gee Chun, who had worked hard to get herself back into the top ten after a terrible start, had her worst day of the week, plunging back down the leaderboard again. She finished T-26th after shooting an 80.
It was not a great ending for defending champ Hyo Joo Kim, either, although she certainly had a better result than Chun. She shot a 73 and wound up 9th. She never really came close to contending today.
Meanwhile, newbie Sung Hyun Park maintained her lead, despite playing with Jung Min Lee, who had beaten her head to head just a few weeks ago.
But while Park and Lee played even par golf, Soo Jin Yang made a huge run up the leaderboard. She was three under on the front nine and added another birdie on 10 to move into second place.
Yang was now at 1 under, but Park birdied 10 and 11 to move to 5 under.
Park finally hit a major snag on the 13th and 14th hole. She made bogey on 13 and triple bogey on the par 5 14th, and suddenly she dropped to one under. Alas, Yang also made bogies to drop to 1 over, and Lee remained at 1 over, so Park still had the lead. But now her cushion was just 2 shots.
Yang had a great chance to cut into the lead when she hit a marvelous approach to about four feet on 16, but she missed the birdie and remained two back. Soo Jin then short sided herself in the bunker on 17, and her pitch shot sailed well past the hole. She bogied to fall to 2 over.
Lee, meanwhile, hung in at 1 over. But on 16, she missed the green and hit a poor pitch, while Park got her approach to within fifteen feet. Park barely missed the birdie, but Lee missed her par save and fell to 2 over. But then Park missed her short par save (!) to fall to Even par, and the lead was again two.
So now the scores were: Sung Hyun Park even par with two holes to play, Shin Ae Ahn and Jung Min Lee +2 with two to play and Soo Jin Yang +2 with one to play.
Soo Jin hit into the rough off the tee on 18 and was not able to get to the green in two. She ended up with a double that killed her last chance to win. Yang had had a really good chance on the 17th tee, but basically cost herself the trophy on the final two holes by going +3 in that stretch.
On 17, Ahn made par, and Lee scrambled for a two putt from about sixty feet. But Park, twenty feet closer, three putted, and suddenly the gap was one: Park +1, Ahn and Lee +2.
On 18, Ahn hit her approach into the bunker and hit over the green on her sand shot. Double for her, too, to finish at +4, tied with Soo Jin Yang.
So it came to the final group. Lee hit her approach onto the green but it rolled off the back. Park was long, too, but stayed on the green.
Lee hit first. Chipping from the fringe, she hit it way past the hole, maybe twenty feet. Advantage Park.
That was all Park needed. She putted her birdie try to about six inches, and the trophy was hers.
The most amazing thing about this final round was that great players like Soo Jin Yang, Shin Ae Ahn and Jung Min Lee all had great chances to win, but couldn't get the job done to put it away. Lee didn't play too badly, but she did not have a birdie in the final 12 holes, while both Ahn and Yang made too many mistakes in the final few holes.
Congratulations to Sung Hyun Park on an amazing breakthrough win on the KLPGA!
1. Sung Hyun Park 77 +1 2. Jung Min Lee 74 +3 3. Shin Ae Ahn 74, Soo Jin Yang 72 +4 5. Su Yeon Jang 72, So Young Lee (A) 72, So Young Kim 2 74, Ye Jin Kim 74 +6
Notables: 9. Song Yi Ahn 69, Hyo Joo Kim 73 +7 12. Seon Woo Bae 74, Jin Young Ko 73 +8 16. Char Young Kim 73 +10 18. Ji Hee Kim 76 +11 21. Jung Eun Lee 5 77 +12 23. Shi Hyun Ahn 77, Bo Kyung Kim 75 +13 26. Chae Young Yoon 75, Ju Young Park 76, In Gee Chun 80 +14 34. Han Sul Ji (R) 75 +15 37. Min Sun Kim 5 72 +16 48. Jae Eun Jung 74 +18 57. Ji Hyun Oh 75 +21
Congratulation to Sung Hyun Park for her first win. Kudos to Jung Min Lee, Soo Jin and Shin Ae for top fives.
The LPGA should take a lesson from the KLPGA on how a Major should be set up. It should not be a birdie fest. With Par fives shortened to long par fours. They should also be penalized for spraying their shots.
Thanks HappyFan. You make it so much easier for me to keep up with the KLPGA. I always look forward to your photos.
Thanks! I enjoy doing it, and it gives me a good chance to practice my Korean language skills (such as they are, anyways...).
A few more thoughts:
- Sung Hyun Park sure seemed to be creaming Jung Min Lee (not a short hitter) off the tee. I saw an article indicating she was averaging more than 250 meters off the tee this week, which is around 273 yards.
- Ach, so painful to watch Soo Jin Yang play so well but come up short. Nonetheless, this finish, coupled with some earlier good weeks, seems to show she is on the comeback trail. It would be awesome to see her return to form!
- Interesting that Shin Ae Ahn and Yang, both rivals since their rookie year in 2009 (Ahn beat Yang for ROY), were both in the hunt this week!
- I didn't notice that In Gee was injured, but if I find anything out I'll let you know (Putt says he saw her with a wrap? But the photos I put up don't show that).
- Hyo Joo finished t-9th, her same finish as at the LPGA Major the previous week.
I have heard IGJ got injured while she make a shot in rough somewhere. There was SHP field interview, not winner's speach, just before official award ceremony. SHP stated; - She was very shaky after triple in hole#14 - JML approached to tell her not to get too nervous tipping it would be helpful to talk a lot How nice she was! I decided to fanboy JML. And I wonder why the reporters do not give attention to it...lol