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