Beijing, China: Tour rookie Mirim Lee won the US$2.1 million Reignwood LPGA Classic in dramatic style after a nail-biting finish with Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall and American Stacy Lewis.
The 23-year-old Korean shot a four-under-par 69 on the Nicklaus Course at the Pine Valley Golf Club, finishing with a birdie on the 18th hole that left her two shots clear of joint overnight leader Hedwall.
She picked up three birdies on the front nine and a further two on the back, with a single bogey on the par-five 12th.
Under clear blue skies and a blustery wind, the Swede was unable to match her form of the previous day, scoring an even-par 73 including two birdies and two bogeys.
It remained a three-horse race together with world number one Lewis until the 17th hole.
There, when Lee’s tee shot landed on the rocks short of the green, everybody thought it was all over for the Korean. But a superb rescue followed by a sublime 35-foot putt saw her make par.
Meanwhile, Lewis three-putted for a bogey to write herself out of contention for the top prize.
Round four had been billed as a Europe versus US Solheim Cup-style showdown but with an uncharacteristic two-over-par 75 for Lewis it wasn’t to be. She finished tied in sixth place and four shots off the lead at 11-under.
Commenting on her victory, together with winners cheque for US$315,000, Lee said: “I really didn’t think I would get my second win this quickly. I was a lot more nervous this time than first time around. China is very close to my home. I won this tournament, so I think China and myself are a pretty good fit.”
Asked whether this would be the icing on the cake of her rookie year, she added: “It is now. But we’ve got seven more tournaments to go. So I don’t want to say it’s over yet. It’s on-going.”
A philosophical Hedwall added: “Of course you’re always a little disappointed that you couldn’t pull it off and win. At the same time, the up and down she made on 17 was just incredible. So I’m happy with the second place. I struggled this season, so it’s nice to get a good finish. It gives me a lot of confidence for the rest of the Asian swing.”
Grant Slack, Senior Vice-President of IMG Golf Asia-Pacific, the tournaamenr promoters, said:”The second edition of the Reignwood LPGA Classic has been a great success and has consolidated this tournament’s position as one of the pre-eminent ladies golf tournaments in Asia.”
Ohio, United States: The 36-hole Kenwood Country Club has planned a June grand re-opening for its Kendale Course, a Golden Age layout where Fry/Straka Global Golf Course Design has completed a US$5 million renovation.