Choi Hye-jin claims sea­son’s fifth vic­tory at SK Net­works Seokyung Ladies

The Korea Times - - SPORTS -

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.

Yon­hap

Choi Hye-jin kisses tro­phy af­ter win­ning the SK Net­works Seokyung Ladies Clas­sic at the Pinx Golf Club on Jeju Is­land, Sun­day.

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