Posted by: happyfan08 | October 16, 2010

2010 Hite Cup Championship Rd 4

At the start of the final round of this year’s KLPGA Hite Cup Championship, virtually unknown young player Soo Hwa Jang found herself with a tiny lead over some of the biggest names in Korean golf.  Among those who were within small distance of her to start the day were Soo Jin Yang, the teen who had won the year’s first Major and led the tour’s money list; So Yeon Ryu, 5 time winner in 2009 still looking for her first win in the calendar year of 2010; Bo Mee Lee, 2010 Player of the Year points leader; top ten in the world Song Hee Kim; Hall of Famer Se Ri Pak; and 2010 LPGA tour winner Sun Young Yoo.  Yet Jang somehow hung in there and in the end claimed a one stroke win over Lee.

Se Ri Pak was 6 shots back to start the day

The final group consisted of Jang, Ryu and Yang.  Ryu has been looking for some kind of mojo all year, but it has consistently eluded her.  She started the day 2 shots back, and shot a 2 under par 34 on the front nine to move to 2 under.  Unfortunately for her, Jang also shot 2 under during that stretch to maintain her 2 stroke lead.  On the back nine, the wheels fell off for Ryu.  She made four bogies and no birdies, and fell all the way to 2 over par, tied for fifth.  Instead of pressuring Jang, she found herself struggling just to make par.

So Yeon Ryu on Sunday

The one star who did put pressure on Jang was Bo Mee Lee.  Lee went out in 4 under par 32 on the front nine to climb to 3 under.  Another birdie on 10 and she was tied with Jang.  She didn’t stay there for long, though.  On the 12th hole she had major problems, resulting in a double bogey that knocked her back to 2 under.  She fell further with another later bogey. 

Bo Mee Lee in round 4

But she still had her chances.  At that point Jang had started to struggle herself, falling to 2 under total.  Lee had a longish putt on the final hole; make it, and she would post a 2 under par and force Jang to birdie at least once in her final two holes to avoid a playoff.  But Lee missed the putt by a few inches, and had to settle for posting a 1 under.  Frustration was etched all over her face; she knew darn well that that miss may have cost her the championship.

Soo Hwa Jang

Once Lee was in the clubhouse at that level, the tournament came down to three players: Jang, Lee and Soo Jin Yang.  Yang made a single bogey on the front and another on 13 to fall down to 1 over.  But a clutch birdie on 17 moved her to even par.  She was still 2 shots behind Jang and 1 behind Lee, but Jang still had to deal with a tricky par save of about six feet on 17 to remain in the lead.  Not to fear: Jang drained it, putting a small dagger into the hearts of her competitors in the process.

Soo Jin Yang

That par save was the key moment.  Jang only needed par on the par 5 18th to claim the win, and had little trouble doing just that.  Yang just missed her own birdie try by inches to tie Lee at 1 under, and wound up third.  So, Soo Hwa Jang, the least heralded player in contention, ended up being the champion: every other player in the top seven has multiple wins on tour.

To the victor goes the (Hite) beer!

Beer's to you!

It’s a particularly unusual occurrence on the KLPGA tour for an unknown to claim a Major, at least lately.  In 2008, all three Majors were won by Jiyai Shin.  Last year, superstar Hee Kyung Seo won three Majors and Jung Eun Lee 5, another top player, won the other one.  And this year the two Majors to date had been won by budding superstar Yang and genuine superstar Jiyai Shin.  Time will tell whether Jang will go on to a great career or be a one trick pony, but for now, she deserves to enjoy the fruits of a well fought win.

Hite Cup Champion Soo Hwa Jang

Scores:
1. Soo Hwa Jang 73-72-69-72 -2
2. Bo Mee Lee 71-75-71-70 -1
3. Soo Jin Yang 73-76-66-73 Even
4. Jung Eun Lee 5 72-75-70-72 +1
5. So Yeon Ryu 70-74-72-74 +2
Hye Youn Kim 70-74-72-74 +2

Notables:
7. Se Ri Pak 75-74-71-72 +4
8. Sun Young Yoo 75-70-73-75 +5
Song Hee Kim 74-70-74-75 +5
11. He Yong Choi 68-79-74-73 +6
Kyeong Bae 72-75-74-73 +6
Hee Kyung Seo 69-78-74-73 +6
15. Shin Ae Ahn 70-81-73-71 +7
18. Ji Na Lim 69-82-74-71 +8
23. Ran Hong 73-80-69-75 +9
Mi Jeong Jeon 68-82-72-75 +9
29. Hye Jung Choi 68-85-71-74 +10
31. Yoon Ji Cho (R) 72-75-72-80 +11
38. Sung Ah Yim 75-76-73-77 +13
43. Ha Neul Kim 72-78-74-78 +14
50. Hyun Hee Moon 76-74-77-77 +16
52. Joo Mi Kim 76-77-76-76 +17
55. Jin Joo Hong 78-75-78-75 +18
58. Soo Yun Kang 74-74-77-82 +19

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