Choi wins fi­nal LPGA Tour event of the year

The Pak Banker - - Front Page -

NAPLES

If noth­ing else, Na Yeon Choi proved to be a big-money player this year on the LPGA Tour. Choi cap­tured her first ma­jor this sum­mer at the U.S. Women's Open, the big­gest purse of the year. She turned a great sea­son into her best one yet Sun­day by win­ning the Ti­tle­hold­ers and a $500,000 check, the sec­ond-big­gest prize on tour.

For some­one who has an ap­point­ment Mon­day in Or­lando to buy a new house, the tim­ing couldn't have been bet­ter.

She earned it at The TwinEa­gles Club in the fi­nal LPGA Tour event of the year by fol­low­ing good ad­vice from her cad­die on how to play the short par-4 16th, and de­liv­er­ing an ex­quis­ite shot with a 52-de­gree wedge to a deep, three-tiered green for a birdie that sent Choi on her way. ''I feel re­ally great, and I'm re­ally sat­is­fied how I played - not just this week, but this sea­son,'' said Choi, who fin­ished at 14un­der 274.

Ryu, hon­ored this week as the LPGA Rookie of the Year, hit 3-wood into about 25 feet for a two-putt birdie on the 13th to tie for the lead. But on the next hole, she didn't ac­count for the wind mak­ing her 30-foot birdie putt faster than it looked. The putt went some 6 feet by the hole, and a three- putt bo­gey cost her a share of the lead. She never caught up the rest of the way. ''I learn one more thing,'' Ryu said. '' I have to think about the wind strength at the green.''

Choi took it from there, and seized con­trol on the 16th, which can be reached off the tee with a big drive. Her cadd ie , Ja­son Hamil­ton, didn't think it was worth the risk. Any­thing short leaves an awk­ward pitch, which is what Ryu ended up fac­ing. Any­thing too close to the green and to the left leaves a blind pitch to the back of the three-tiered green, and par be­comes a good score.

Choi hit 3-wood to the left side of the fair­way and a 52-wedge to a tiny spot on an el­e­vated green she couldn't see. ''Left side of the fair­way is a bet­ter an­gle to the sec­ond shot,'' Choi said. '' I think the pin was at 79 yards, but I just landed it al­most at the pin. I tried to land it al­most to the pin. There's not a lot of room.''

Brit­tany Lin­ci­come also closed with a 70 to fin­ish alone in third. NEWS

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