South Korea’s Lee Il-hee captured her first LPGA title on Sunday, firing a five-under-par 42 over a 12-hole round to win the weather-hit Pure Silk Bahamas Classic by two strokes over the US’ Irene Cho.
After a bogey-free final round, Lee finished on 11-under 126 for 36 holes played in three 12-hole rounds due to course flooding.
Lee foiled Cho’s bid for her first LPGA triumph after a seven-under 40 in the final round.
Until a third-place finish earlier this month at the Kingsmill Championship, Lee’s best LPGA showing was a share of fourth at last year’s US Women’s Open.
Severe winds and rain nagged players over the last round, which was needed to reach the minimum 36 holes to make it official.
LPGA officials came up with the 12-hole, three-day format to salvage what had been planned as a 72-hole event. The par-three fourth hole was dropped on Sunday in favor of the once-flooded par-five 18th, changing the layout from a par-45 to a par-47.
Lee, 24, opened with three birdies in a row and added another at the eighth to reach 10-under for a one-stroke lead over Cho with four holes to play.
At the penultimate hole, Lee left a long birdie putt four feet short, but dropped the tension-packed putt to stay ahead.
Blasting her second shot onto the green at the par-five final hole just before a heavy rain began, Lee missed an 18-foot eagle putt, but tapped in for birdie and the win.
Cho opened with a birdie, added another on the par-five third hole and then eagled the par-five fifth hole with a stunning approach from the fairway.
Back-to-back birdies at the eighth and par-three ninth — the latter from 15 feet — and another at the par-five 12th, the course’s usual last hole, gave Cho the best finish of her career.
Cho finished in the money for only the third time this season.
Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist was third on 129, with a group sharing fourth on 130 including Japan’s Mika Miyazato, France’s Karine Icher and Americans Mindy Kim, Paula Creamer and Cristie Kerr.
Amy Hung was the best placed of the Taiwanese players, tied for 73rd place on one-over 138, while Yani Tseng was tied for 88th a shot further back and Candie Kung was tied for 112th on five-over 142.
Additional reporting by staff writer