Choi Hye-jin claims season’s fifth victory at SK Networks Seokyung Ladies
Choi Hye-jin won the SK Networks Seokyung Ladies Classic, romping to a three-stroke victory at the 6,638-yard par-72 Pinx Golf Club on Jeju Island, Sunday.
Her final round of 69 gave Choi her fifth win of the season and her ninth career victory on the KLPGA Tour.
She had previous rounds of 66, 68 and 70 for an overall 15-under 273, and took home 160 million won in prize money.
Winning gives Choi most of the major annual KLPGA Tour awards as she tops the season’s money list, and has the most victories and best scoring average, practically ensuring she will get the Player of the Year Award.
Entering the final round, Choi had a two-stroke advantage over Na Hee-won at 10-under, while Lim Hee-jeong and two other rivals were three strokes behind. Lee Da-eyon at 8-under was four strokes adrift.
Choi got off to a dazzling start, taking the initiative in the battle with a birdie on the opening hole, extending her lead to three strokes. She edged further ahead — to 10-under par — with her second birdie of the day on the par-4 seventh hole, four shots clear of Lee Da-yeon.
Na dropped out of contention early when she incurred a triple-bogey on the par-4 sixth, leaving Choi with no competitors after her two birdies on the front nine.
Lee reeled in three birdies against one bogey Choi made the turn at 14-under, as the game shaped up into a one-sided battle with her never giving up the lead, hitting every fairway off the tee except for the par-5 16th.
Although Lim and Lee made strenuous efforts to push Choi, they lacked firepower to make a strong challenge as the leader stayed poised and calm, pacing herself.
Choi looked effortlessly set to grab the title without effort when she collected her third birdie of the day on the par4 15th, and led the field by four strokes with three holes to play.
She faced her first crisis when her third shot on the par-5 16th green, after an erratic tee shot into the rough, ended far from the cup, but she made a good two-putt par.
Getting through the 17th without incident, she capped the tournament with an easy twoputt par for an effortless fourstroke triumph.
“I think I won as I’d prepared a lot for this tournament. I started to feel a little bit comfortable after birdying the 15th,” she said in a post-round interview.
“I thank my fans and supporters for their everlasting care and help. I will go all out to be a better player.”
Rookie sensation Lim Heejeong, 19, played the front nine in 35.
After birdying the ninth and making the turn at 10-under, she was tied for second with Lee Da-yeon.
Rattling off two birdies on the par-4 11th and 18th, she posted a spotless three-under 69 for an overall 12-under 276 and sole second place.
Choi Hye-jin kisses trophy after winning the SK Networks Seokyung Ladies Classic at the Pinx Golf Club on Jeju Island, Sunday.