South Korean Lee Mi-hyang captured her first LPGA Tour victory in a playoff in Japan on Sunday.
Lee, 21, won the Mizuno Classic with a birdie on the fifth playoff hole, edging out fellow South Korean Lee Il-hee and Japanese Kotono Kozuma at the Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club in Shima, Japan. Lee Mi-hyang took home the $180,000 winner’s check.
The three players all scored pars on their first two trips to the par-4 18th hole in the sudden death playoff, and then all birdied the same hole on their third visit.
Korea’s Lee Mi-hyang. (AP)
They had pars on their fourth trip to the 18th, and returned there for the fifth time, when Lee Mi-hyang broke through with the birdie. Lee Il-hee and Kozuma settled for par.
The three players ended regulation tied at 11-under 205 on the par-72, 6,506-yard layout.
Lee Il-hee was tied for the overnight lead with two others at 9-under, and she shot a 70 on Sunday, with three birdies and a bogey. Lee Mi-hyang and Kozuma each shot a 69 to also get into the playoff. Lee Mi-hyang had four birdies and a bogey, while Kozuma scored five birdies against two bogeys in regulation.
Five players were tied for first place at one point in the final round. Then Lee Il-hee claimed a one-stroke lead at 12-under after a birdie on the par-5 16th, but fell right back into a tie with a bogey on the next hole.
Lee Mi-hyang and Kozuma finished their round before Lee Il-hee at 11-under. Lee Il-hee, needing a birdie on the 18th to win in regulation, managed only par and the three-way playoff ensued.
All three found the green in two and made pars the first time on the 18th. On their second trip, Lee Il-hee missed the green and found a bunker with her second shot, while the two others got on the green in regulation. Lee Il-hee’s shot out of sand came up short of the hole, but she managed par, while Lee Mi-hyang and Kozuma missed their birdie putts.
The three drained their birdie putts after reaching the green in two on the third visit to the 18th.
After three pars on the fourth visit, the stage was set for Lee Mi-hyang’s dramatic win on the fifth trip. She faced the shortest birdie putt among the three contestants and found the cup to clinch her maiden victory. (Yonhap)
Bubba Watson wins thriller
Bubba Watson holed a bunker shot for eagle on the final hole Sunday, and then made a 20-foot birdie putt in the playoff to win the HSBC Champions. Watson defeated Tim Clark, who had made birdie on the 18th to get in the playoff.
It was the first World Golf Championship title for Watson, and he won’t soon forget the finish.
The two-time Masters champion had control until a sloppy bogey on the 16th hole and a double bogey on the 17th hole when he took two shots from the bunker. That left him one shot behind, and he appeared to be destined for a runner-up finish at best until his bunker shot left of the 18th green rolled the final 25 feet into the cup. (AP)