Lang claims first victory with birdie binge in playoff

AFP, WATERLOO, CANADA

Tue, Jun 26, 2012 - Page 19

The US’ Brittany Lang earned her first LPGA Tour victory on Sunday, winning the Manulife Financial Classic by making birdie on the par-five 18th hole three consecutive times in a playoff.

Lang held off a wave of South Korean contenders in the playoff after shooting a four-under 67 in regulation to reach 16-under 268.

“I just tried to stay down in the putt and have nice tempo,” Lang said. “I haven’t been in this position much. I’m just trying to learn.”

“I can’t believe I finally won. I’ve had my chances and I still can’t believe I did it,” she said.

She edged out South Koreans Seo Hee-kyung, Chella Choi and Park In-bee at the Grey Silo Golf Course.

Choi was knocked out on the first extra hole, third-round leader Park was eliminated on the second hole, setting the stage for a head-to-head battle between Lang and Seo. Lang rolled in a five-foot putt for the win. Four of the top six and six of the top 13 finishers on Sunday were from South Korea.

Taiwan’s Candie Kung shot a 69 to finish tied for 31st place on six-under 278.

The birdie made amends for a shorter putt that Lang missed on the 18th hole that would have clinched the tournament for her.

Choi closed with a 63 on Sunday, Park a 69 and Seo a 67 to get to 16-under.

Reigning US Women’s Open champion Ryu So-yeon and American Stacy Lewis both fired seven-under 64s on Sunday to finish in a tie for fifth at 15-under.

Playing partners Lang, Seo and Park all settled for pars on 18 to set up the playoff.

Additional reporting by staff writer