Kim maintains Korean stranglehold on Ladies Open
Updated: 2011-12-19 07:57
BEIJING - Kim Hye-youn successfully defended her Hyundai China Ladies Open crown on Sunday by keeping a couple of US LPGA Tour regulars at bay to maintain South Korea's dominance of the championship.
The 22-year-old, a fourth-year pro, closed with a one-over 73 at the Orient Xiamen Golf Club for a 54-hole score of six-under 210, two strokes ahead of Feng Shanshan (70), who posted the best performance by a Chinese player at the $250,000 tournament. Thailand's Pornanong Phatlum, who like Feng plays on the US LPGA Tour, was three shots off the pace in third after a final-round 70.
The fourth career victory by Kim, the sixth consecutive year a South Korean has won the China LPGA Tour-LPGA Tour of Korea co-sanctioned event, saw her walk away with $45,000.
"The last several holes I did not play well and hit into trees and the rough several times. But I overcame those troubles and won by two shots. That's great. This is a historic win for me because I have never succeeded before when defending a title," she said.
Starting the day with a five-shot lead, Kim was never really troubled. She made the turn at even par and then dropped a shot at the 13th when she found a bunker and missed her putt for a bogey. On the last, she hit bunkers twice, the second time blasting out to within two feet of the pin before missing her putt.
"The 17th hole was the key point. I am in the bunker and Feng is left with a two to three meter birdie putt. If I made a bogey and Feng made a birdie, there would have been a two-stroke swing. But I made a nice par and Feng missed her birdie putt," Kim said.
"In fact, Feng put much pressure on me. I paid attention to her during the competition."
Feng, the world No 14, started her round with a bogey five on the opening hole, but also had three birdies. The 22-year-old Guangdong native, who won twice in Japan over the summer, figured she had squandered more than a dozen birdie chances during the tournament.
"I never gave up. You never know who the winner is until the final hole. I believed in myself, but I didn't make it. That's my disappointment. But, overall, I am happy with this result," she said.
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