Guangzhou, China: A day after setting two China LPGA Tour records on the strength of eight birdies over the back nine, Chen Yu-ju cruised to her first professional win with a four-shot victory at the CTBC Ladies Classic.
The 20-year-old Taipei native closed with a round of 71 to finish on eight-under 208 at Guangdong Dragon Lake Golf Club. The victory at the China LPGA Tour-LPGA of Taiwan (TLPGA) co-sanctioned tournament was worth RMB120,000.
“This is my second event of 2018 and I’m satisfied with my performance at the beginning of this new season,” said Chen who turned pro in 2014. “I like the feeling in a competition, playing with golfers from different countries and knowing the different cultures. The prize money I will save it first. Maybe I will use it for travelling to some events or training.”
The Thai duo of Supamas Sangchan (69) and Parinda Phokan (72) finished equal runner-up. Zhang Jienalin (70) was the top Chinese player, five shots back in equal fourth, tied with Chinese Taipei amateur Hsuan Chen (70) and Thailand’s Pavarisa Yoktuan (70).
Starting the day with a three-stroke lead, Chen got to eight-under when she made a birdie-four at the 515-yard opening hole. After a bogey at the 143-yard seventh, she rebounded for a birdie at the next, a 513-yard par-five, to make the turn at one-under 35.
After shooting a Tour record eight-under 28 on the back nine in round two – a performance that included seven straight birdies from the 12th hole – Chen could only shoot nine consecutive pars today.
“During the practice round I was thinking it’s so hard to get under par. These three days are totally better than I expected. I am very excited now,” she said.
“In the winter I used my own money to train in Thailand. I trained eight hours every day. Now I feel everything is worth it. This year I want to win more on the China Tour and be the winner of the Order of Merit on the TLPGA Tour.”
Zhang, a 21-year-old from Henan, got her second top-10 finish in as many weeks when she closed with a round that featured three birdies and a bogey five at the last. “This is my best finish but not my best performance, I could be better,” said Zhang. “I will practice more with short clubs and improve my mental outlook.”