Posted by: happyfan08 | October 23, 2010

KLPGA: 2010 KB Star Tour Finale Rd 4

The final round of the KLPGA’s final Major came down to a battle between three of the biggest stars on tour and a young player who is trying to find a new career on the KLPGA after being on the LPGA tour.  The event ended the only way it could: on the 72nd hole, with a dramatic birdie.  And when the smoke cleared, the champion was Bo Mee Lee, who made that birdie to clinch her first career Major and third win of 2010.

Bo Mee Lee in round 4

For a long time, however, this event looked like it was going to be So Yeon Ryu’s first Major triumph.  The young player, who won 4 times on tour in 2009, has not won in the 2010 season since the first event of the year, which actually took place in December, 2009.  She has hovered just out of the lead for the first three rounds, and at the start of Sunday, she finally charged into first place in dramatic fashion.  Ryu birdied her first two holes, then made three more birdies on holes 5 – 7.  She also birdied the 9th hole for a scintillating front nine 30.  She sat at 19 under par with a three shot lead over anyone else in the field.

So Yeon Ryu shot 30 on the front nine Sunday

Hee Kyung Seo, the defending champion, was also looking for her first KLPGA win of the year.  She birdied holes 5 through 8 for a front nine 32, and also had another streak of three straight birdies on the back nine.  But she made several key errors, and in the end the other leaders were just playing too well for her to make up ground.  Despite shooting a 67, she wound up solo fourth.

Hee Kyung Seo on Sunday

Lee went out in 34, while the third member of the final group, Sung Ah Yim, was one under for the day at the turn.  The scores at that point were: Ryu -19, Lee -16, Yim -15.  But things tightened up inexorably on the back.  Ryu wasn’t making mistakes, but she wasn’t making any more birdies, either.  Lee made birdie on 10 to cut the margin to 2, then another birdie on 14 to cut it to 1 stroke.  Yim kept pace with 2 birdies of her own. 

Sung Ah Yim in round 4

Lee had her chances to catch Ryu, but missed makable birdies on 16 and 17.  She kept hitting the ball closer than Ryu, and still somehow Ryu was scrambling to make long two putts and hang on to that one shot lead (and two shot lead over Yim).

Ryu kept smiling even as the tournament tightened

On 17, Ryu’s luck ran out.  She hit her approach into the bunker, but managed a solid sand shot to within three feet.  But then she missed the must make par save to drop back to 18 under.  Lee lipped out her birdie putt to take the outright lead, but made the par to tie Ryu.  With one hole to go, Yim was one shot back, and Ryu and Lee were tied.

Bo Mee Lee on Sunday

It all came down to the par 5 18th.  Yim did not get very close with her third shot.  Ryu and Lee both had birdie opportunities, but Ryu missed hers, Lee made hers, and for the first time since the first couple of holes of the day, Lee took the outright lead.  Unfortunately for Ryu, there were no more holes to play — and thus, Bo Mee Lee captured the fourth and final Major title of 2010.

Bo Mee Lee celebrates a birdie on the third hole Sunday

For So Yeon Ryu, this has to have been a devestating setback.  Coming into this season, she looked likely to be one of the players to beat for all the year ending awards.  All she needed was a Major title to complete her resume.  Who would have guessed she not only would not win a Major, but any tournament at all, during the calendar year?  In this event, she shot 18 under total, a 67 on the final day, and still was not able to get the win.  There probably wasn’t much more she could have done, but that might not stop the questions from swirling in her head.

So Yeon Ryu on Sunday

For Bo Mee Lee, however, it has been a fantastic season.  This win will probably put her on top of the money list; she already leads the scoring average and Player of the Year standings.  Is she now the new Queen of the tour, and how will it affect her going forward knowing that everyone will be gunning to take her down?  Regardless of all that, she played brilliantly this week, faced down a tough foe from several shots back to capture the win, and deserves all the accolades that will be coming her way now and in December.  Congratulations to Bo Mee Lee!

Bo Mee Lee gets a celebratory beer bath

Bo Mee Lee and her trophy

Scores:
1. Bo Mee Lee 64-69-69-67 -19
2. So Yeon Ryu 69-65-69-67 -18
3. Sung Ah Yim 65-68-69-69 -17
4. Hee Kyung Seo 68-68-70-67 -15
5. Hye Won Jung 65-75-68-68 -12
Cha Young Kim 2 67-69-71-69 -12

Notables:
7. Jin Joo Hong 69-72-65-71 -11
8. Soo Jin Yang 71-71-69-67 -10
9. Hye Jung Choi 65-73-71-70 -9
Hye Youn Kim 69-69-70-71 -9
14. Ran Hong 71-73-70-67 -7
Shin Ae Ahn 64-69-75-73 -7
21. Yoon Ji Cho (R) 70-68-72-73 -5
23. Hyun Hee Moon 75-69-65-75 -4
25. Ha Neul Kim 69-76-69-71 -3
28. Jung Eun Lee 5 73-71-73-69 -2
39. Ji Na Lim 69-73-72-75 +1
50. Soo Hwa Jang 75-71-72-73 +3

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