Mon, Oct 19, 2015 - Page 18 News List

Thompson secures title at Hana Bank

GETTING THERE:Taiwan’s Yani Tseng said that she was feeling good after carding a four-under-par 68 to finish the final round one stroke back in a tie for second place

AP, INCHEON, South Korea

The US’ Lexi Thompson tees off on the ninth hole in the final round of the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship on the Sky 72 Golf Club’s Ocean Course in Incheon, South Korea, yesterday.

Photo: AFP

Lexi Thompson yesterday broke out of a crowded pack to win the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship for her second victory of the year and sixth overall.

The 20-year-old US golfer closed with a three-under 69 to beat Taiwan’s Yani Tseng and South Korea’s Park Sung-hyun by a stroke on the Sky 72 Golf Club’s Ocean Course.

“It’s very satisfying.” Thompson said. “I always look forward to coming back to South Korea and playing in front of these amazing fans. I love Sky 72. It’s a great golf course. Getting a win, it means so much.”

Lydia Ko missed a chance to take the top spot in the world from South Korean star Inbee Park, finishing with a 72 that dropped the 18-year-old South Korean-born New Zealander into a tie for fourth at 13-under with South Korea’s Amy Yang and the US’ Gerina Piller.

Yang birdied the final nine holes for a 62. She tied the LPGA Tour record for consecutive birdies set by Beth Daniel in the 1999 Philips Invitational, broke the nine-hole mark for relation to par at nine-under and matched the record for the lowest nine-hole total at 27. Yang also tied the course record set by Park Sung-hyun on Thursday.

“I don’t know what just happened. Just can’t believe,” Yang said. “Shots were great. Early in the week I was shaky, but I don’t know, this back nine was crazy good.”

Thompson took a two-stroke lead with a birdie on the short par-four 15th, driving to the right of the green and hitting a flop shot to 8 feet. She hit her second shot on the par-five 18th into deep rough left of the green and lashed another flop to 12 feet to set up a two-putt par.

“I hit some good flop shot out of the rough today, which helped me out quite a bit,” Thompson said. “That’s good. That’s what I’ve been working on, my short game, my chipping and my putting.”

Thompson opened with rounds of 68, 67 and 69 to enter the final round a shot behind Ko and Park Sung-hyun. The 183cm-tall Floridian birdied the final three holes on the front nine to take the lead. She bogeyed the par-four 11th, and got the stroke back with the birdie on 15.

Thompson finished at 15-under 273 and earned US$300,000. She also won in July in Michigan.

Park Sung-hyun birdied the 18th for a 71 in her first start on the LPGA Tour.

Playing the group ahead of Thompson, Tseng birdied the final two holes for a 68. The former top-ranked player won the last of her 15 LPGA Tour titles in March 2012.

“Getting closer and closer,” Tseng said. “I’m feeling very good about my game.”

Ko ended up needing to win or finish in a two-way tie for second to regain the top spot in the world. Inbee Park shot a 69 to tie for 15th at eight-under in her home event.

“It was great to just see family, my niece and nephews out here,” Ko said. “It’s just really good to be able to play in front of them. Doesn’t matter if I shoot even par, under par, over par, you don’t get to play in front of family or relatives that often.”

Taiwan’s Hsu Wei-ling carded an even-par 72 in the final round to tie for 61st, Min Lee’s one-under 71 helped her improve to a three-way tie for 69th and amateur Hou Yu-sang finished in 76th after a six-over 78.

Kaohsiung-born Candie Kung of the US carded a one-over 73 to finish in a three-way tie for 64th with the US’ Paula Creamer and Juli Inkster, captain of this year’s victorious Solheim Cup US team.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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