SPORTS

World No. 5 Thompson wins LPGA event in S. Korea

By KH디지털2
  • Published : Oct 18, 2015 - 17:38
  • Updated : Oct 18, 2015 - 17:38

World No. 5 Lexi Thompson picked up her second LPGA Tour win of the season in South Korea on Sunday.

Thompson shot a final round of three-under 69 to take the US$2 million LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship at 15-under 273 in Incheon, west of Seoul.

Former world No. 1 Yani Tseng and Korea LPGA Tour star Park Sung-hyun finished tied for second at 14-under 274 at the only LPGA event held in South Korea each year.

Thompson, 20, took home $300,000 in winner's check at the par-72, 6,364-yard Ocean Course at Sky 72 Golf & Resort, near Incheon International Airport. It was her sixth career LPGA victory.

Thompson began the day one stroke behind two overnight leaders, Lydia Ko and Park Sung-hyun, at 12-under. With Ko going through a lethargic final round and Park unable to sink putts, Thompson took advantage with three consecutive birdies starting at the par-5 seventh.

Her only blemish of the day was the bogey at the par-4 11th.

Thompson recovered with a birdie at the par-4 15th, and parred the rest of the way for her fourth straight round in the 60s.

"It's very satisfying," Thompson said. "I didn't look at the leader board until the 17th green. I didn't really know what was going on. I was just trying to shoot as low as I could."

Thompson said she was sick at the start of the week and had lost much of her strength, but she fed off the energy of the huge crowds on the final day.

"It was incredible. I always look forward to coming back to Korea," she added. "It's great to see big crowds over here. It helped me out to get through the week, for sure. This is like the major championship for us over here during the Asia swing. Just to play in front of that many people and hear all these cheers, that's what we want."

Tseng shot a solid 68 Sunday but will have to wait at least another week to grab her first LPGA win since March 2012. This was her fourth top-10 finish of the year, and third in her last four starts.

She made a run with an eagle at the fifth and a birdie at the eighth, but hit a bump with a double bogey at the 10th.

She recovered with a birdie at the 12th, and closed out with two straight birdies to finish second.

Tseng will try to end the long drought on home soil, when the LPGA Tour's annual Asian swing visits Chinese Taipei for Fubon LPGA Taiwan Championship starting Thursday.

"I came to Asia for these five weeks and looking for a win," Tseng said. "I know every week is getting close, and next week in Taiwan, it would be a great win in Taiwan."

Park Sung-hyun, who set the course record with a 10-under 62 in the first round, came up short of her first LPGA win in her first try after a 71 in the final round. After a bogey at third, she made an eagle at the par-5 seventh to get to 14-under, joining Thompson at the top. However, she bogeyed 12th and couldn't sink birdie putts at 14th and 15th. She grabbed her only birdie of the day at the 18th to join Tseng in second.

"I think I did well by staying near the top of the leader board for all four rounds," Park said. "But it's always disappointing when any tournament ends without a win. I had my share of opportunities but couldn't convert them."

World No. 2 Ko, South Korean-born New Zealander, had a birdie at the fourth but shot herself out of contention with bogeys at sixth, ninth and 11th en route to a 72, her worst round in four days here, that left her in a three-way tie for fourth.

She picked up a birdie at 13th to get back to 12-under, trailing Thompson by two, but left makeable birdie putts inches short at both 14th and 15th.

Ko finally made a birdie at the 16th, but settled for pars over the final two holes. She could have overtaken Park In-bee of South Korea for the No. 1 on the world rankings with a victory or by finishing tied for second.

Park shot a 69 Sunday to finish at eight-under, good for a six-way tie for 15th.

Amy Yang of South Korea, the 2013 champion, tied the course record with a 10-under 62 on Sunday to finish at 13-under. She birdied every hole on the back nine, matching the LPGA record for most consecutive birdies in one round.

Four South Koreans tied for ninth at 10-under: Chella Choi, Lee Mi-hyang, Cho Yoon-ji and Lee Mi-rim. (Yonhap)