Kim keeps Korea’s grip on China Open tro­phy as home hope Feng falls short

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS - By QIU QUANLIN in Qingyuan, Guang­dong qi­uquan­lin@chi­nadaily.com.cn

South Korea’s Kim Hyo-joo won her third Hyundai China Ladies Open ti­tle in five years on Sun­day, crush­ing China’s hopes of end­ing Korean dom­i­nance in the event.

Kim carded a fi­nal-round 67 at the three-day tour­na­ment in Qingyuan, Guang­dong prov­ince, to beat com­pa­tri­ots Lim Eun-bin and Jang Ha-na by two strokes with a 6-un­der-par to­tal of 210.

China’s No 1 Feng Shan­shan was the only Chi­nese in the top 10, plac­ing fourth, three shots be­hind Kim.

“It is a won­der­ful day by fin­ish­ing the sea­son-end­ing tour­na­ment with a vic­tory. I feel it is very com­fort­able to play in China, just like play­ing at home,” said Kim, who is ranked No 1 on the LPGA of Korea Tour (KLPGA).

The tour­na­ment, co-spon­sored by the China LPGA and KLPGA, has been dom­i­nated by South Korea since its launch 10 years ago.

Kim also won the ti­tle in 2012 in Xi­a­men, Fu­jian prov­ince, and in 2014 in Shen­zhen, Guang­dong prov­ince.

“I came here strongly aim­ing to win my third ti­tle,” said Kim, whose ca­reer wins to­tal 15, three of those on the US LPGA Tour.

“Now I am wait­ing to play next year in China, hop­ing I will be as lucky as I am now.”

The 21-year-old Kim said she had de­vel­oped good re­la­tions with Chi­nese play­ers and has be­come a close friend of ris­ing star Feng Simin.

“I played many times with Chi­nese play­ers in the past few years. Most im­por­tantly, we’re good friends,” said Kim.

“Feng Simin and I talked about a lot, on and off the course. She speaks very well in Korean and both of us love Korean movies.

“Chi­nese play­ers have played very well, not only in this tour­na­ment but var­i­ous in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tions.

“A lot of Chi­nese, such as Feng Simin and Feng Shan­shan, have proved their strength in in­ter­na­tional tour­na­ments.”

PHO­TOS PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

South Korea’s Kim Hyo-joo in ac­tion dur­ing the fi­nal round of Hyundai China Ladies Open in Qingyuan, Guang­dong prov­ince, on Sun­day. Kim carded rounds of 74, 69 and 67 to win the event for the third time in five years.

China’s Feng Shan­shan hits a tee shot on Sun­day at the China Ladies Open, where she could not pre­vent an­other Korean win.

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