Taipei, Taiwan: Teresa Lu lived up to her billing as the top-ranked player in the field as she eked out a two-stroke victory in the weather-hit CTBC Ladies Open.
After waiting 4½ hours to play nine holes at Orient (Taipei) Golf and Country Club, Lu, the world number 29, quickly wiped out the four-shot deficit that separated her from the overnight lead.
Following an eagle-three on her opening hole – the 10th – she added three further birdies to post a five-under-par 31. That gave her an aggregate of 11-under 169 for 45 holes, the tournament being reduced by nine holes due to the elements.
China’s Yang Taoli (34) finished runner-up in the tournament that was co-sponsored by the China and Taiwan LPGA Tours.
Compatriot Shu Yuting (34) was one shot further back in third, while Korean Jang So-young (34) and overnight leader Saranporn Langkulgaettrin (39) of Thailand were equal fourth, four shots off the pace.
Lu, who earned NT$1 million for the victory, said it was the first time she had come back from four strokes in nine holes to win a tournament. She credited her strong iron play for her success.
“It was a great experience for me. It’s not easy to come back, especially when the players played so good. I think the only way to win is getting more birdies, that’s the only way to transfer pressures to other players. The eagle definitely encouraged me a lot,” said the 28-year-old who has won 10 times in Japan since the 2013 season.
“I felt nervous at the beginning but better after the eagle. If the final round was 18 holes my strategy is the same. The positive policy is the only choice for me,” added Lu, who will bid to defend her Japan LPGA Championship Konica Minolta Cup title next week.
Yang, the 2009 China LPGA Tour Order of Merit winner, posted her best performance since coming back this year from a three-year break to get married and have a child. She closed with three birdies and a bogey.
The Sichuan native said: “Teresa’s hot performance encouraged me and brought memories back. This week has given me lots of confidence and made me believe I could still be competitive. It’s very important for me.”
Saranporn, who had a three-stroke lead going into the day, failed to get anything going with a bogey-five at the 12thhole and a double-bogey seven at the last.
“I learned a lot today. Teresa is so experienced. I admired how she dealt with the conditions,” said the 16-year-old Phuket native, a three-time winner on the All Thailand Tour this year.
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