KLPGA’s ‘Lee Ye-won Era’ begins with first major win
KLPGA’s ‘Lee Ye-won Era’ begins with first major win and three wins in the season.
The Korean Ladies Professional Golf Association (KLPGA) Tour is in the midst of the Lee era.
Lee shot a 1-over-par 73 in the final round of the season’s final major, the Hite Jinro Championship ($1.2 billion in prize money), at Blue Heron Golf Club (par-72) in Yeoju, Gyeonggi Province, on Monday for a four-round total of 7-under-par 281.
Lee, who won her first career title at the Lotte Rent-a-Car Women’s Open in April and her second at the Doosan E&C Weave Championship in August, now has three wins on the season.
She is second only to Park Ji-young with three wins this season.
Last year’s Rookie of the Year, Lee was known for her steady play but not her explosiveness or field dominance, and this season she has emerged as the top player on the KLPGA Tour with three wins and her first major crown in just six months.
With her $216 million prize money, Lee extended her lead on the money list ($1.26 billion) and her lead on the Order of Merit.
Lee also closed the gap on the second-place leader, Park Ji-young, in stroke average.
If she can continue this upward trend, she could win four individual titles: prize money, grand prize, most wins, and best stroke average.
Lee also brushed off the disappointment of missing the cut for the first time this season at the Daebo Household Open last week.
“I’m happy to have accomplished my goals of winning three titles and a major this season,” said Lee. “I want to win another five tournaments and challenge the record for most money in a season.”
After finishing the third round with a five-stroke lead and seemingly booking the title, Lee wasted no time in the final round.
A birdie on the second (par-3) brought Kim to within four strokes, but a birdie on the third (par-4) pushed her lead back to five, 바카라사이트 and a birdie on the fifth (par-3) followed by a birdie on the eighth (par-4) extended the gap to eight strokes.
Lee made her first bogey of the day on the 12th (par-4), but it was still a one-sided affair with Lee leading by six strokes with six holes remaining.
Lee dropped back-to-back shots on the 14th and 15th holes, but it didn’t stop her from winning.
With a four-stroke lead, Lee briefly experienced an embarrassing moment on the final 18th hole (par-5) when she put her second shot in the water and holed out for bogey, but she held up three fingers to celebrate her victory.
“I had a big lead, but it was a very difficult course, so I didn’t relax,” said Lee, “I just focused on my game and tried to stay in a good flow.”
Kim Soo-ji, the 2021 champion of the event, shot a 2-under 70 to win the runner-up battle that was just as hotly contested. Kim shot a 5-under-par 283.
Kim birdied the 16th (par-3) and then the 18th (par-5) to pull within two strokes, but a double bogey on the eighth (par-4) put her at a disadvantage.
Sung and rookie Hwang Yoo-jin, who travels to the United States for the LPGA Tour Qualifying Series on Nov. 11, were two strokes back in a tie for third at 2-under 286.
Defending champion Park Min-ji shot an even-par 72 to finish in a tie for 18th place (7-over par 295).
Playing as an invitee, Park also carded an even-par 72 on the day to finish in a tie for 26th place (10-over par 298).
After four days in the clouds, Park will be back in front of her home fans at the LPGA Tour’s BMW Women’s Championship, which begins on April 19 at Seowon Hills Country Club in Paju, Gyeonggi-do.