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Baek takes LPGA title in Korea

INCHEON (Yonhap) ― South Korean Baek Kyu-jung claimed the LPGA KEB-HanaBank Championship in a playoff on Sunday for her maiden LPGA victory in her first appearance on the tour.

The 19-year-old defeated compatriot Chun In-gee and American Brittany Lincicome with a birdie on the first sudden death playoff hole on the par-72, 6,364-yard Ocean Course at Sky72 Golf and Resort here in Incheon, west of Seoul.

Baek, a member of the Korean LPGA Tour, took home $300,000 in the winner’s purse.

Baek is the eighth South Korean champion of the tournament, which began in 2002 as the only LPGA Tour event here. This was the third straight year in which the champ was determined in a playoff.
Korea’s Baek Kyu-jung poses with the winner’s trophy on Sunday. (AP-Yonhap)
Korea’s Baek Kyu-jung poses with the winner’s trophy on Sunday. (AP-Yonhap)

The three playoff contestants ended the regulation tied at 10-under and went back to the par-5 18th for the playoff.

Chun was the first to drop out of contention, after finding water just short of the green with her third shot and making bogey.

Lincicome stiffed her third shot to about three feet above the hole, while Baek, who’d recovered after getting into rough off the tee, put her third shot slightly closer.

Lincicome missed her birdie putt just left of the hole, setting up the stage for Baek’s clinching putt. The teenager, seemingly immune to pressure, stepped up and drained for the victory.

In regulation, Lincicome fired a bogey-free 66 and took the club house lead early, having played two groups ahead of Chun and three ahead of Baek. Lincicome, playing for the first time in a month, had three birdies on the front nine and three more on the back nine.

Chun, who also shot a 66 in the final round, had four birdies on the front nine and made the turn at 8-under. She had the sole possession of the lead at 10-under after a birdie on the 13th, but committed her first bogey of the day on the next hole to fall into a tie with Lincicome at 9-under.

Chun came right back to pick up another birdie on the 15th. She had a chance to claim the club house lead but pushed her three-foot birdie putt on the 18th, with Baek watching the play unfold from the fairway. 

Ben Martin in Las Vegas lead

LAS VEGAS (AP) ― Ben Martin birdied five straight holes on the back nine Saturday and finished with a 9-under 62 to take a two-stroke lead in the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.

Winless in 55 career starts on the PGA Tour, the 27-year-old former Clemson player matched his best score on the tour ― set last year in the Zurich Classic ― to get to 17-under 196 at TPC Summerlin.

He has the 54-hole lead for the first time on the PGA Tour.

“Just go out tomorrow with the same mindset, head down, and try to keep making birdies,” Martin said.

Martin had four birdies and bogey on the front nine, birdied No. 10 and took the lead with his birdie run on Nos. 13-17.

“I felt it from the first hole (when) I made a 20-footer for birdie,” Martin said. “So I felt confident with my putter and I was getting a lot of looks. I’ve played that stretch of holes well all week, 15 and 16, and that’s really the part of the course that most guys are making their birdies.”

Scotland’s Russell Knox, tied for the second-round lead with Andrew Putnam, was second after a 66.