Koh claims 1st title with Shanghai win

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Michelle Koh. 

Michelle Koh captured her first professional title yesterday when the Malaysian closed with a sizzling final-round 6-under 66 to win the CTBC Shanghai Ladies Classic by two strokes at Tianma Country Club.

In an historic China LPGA Tour event that featured a full flight of LPGA of Taiwan Tour players playing on China's mainland for the first time, the 24-year-old Koh played spoiler at the co-sponsored tournament in finishing at 10-under 206.

Overnight co-leader Cheng Ssu-chia of Chinese Taipei was runner-up as the rookie pro carded her only birdie of the day on the final hole for an even-par 72. Chinese veterans Yan Panpan (69), Pan Yanhong (69) and Ye Ziqi (72) were equal third in a group with Korean Jang So-young (70) and Titiya Plucksataporn (66) of Thailand at three shots back.

Koh, the first Malaysian to win on the China LPGA Tour in its seven-year history, came out firing with six birdies through the first 12 holes. She then played par golf back to the clubhouse in a bogey-free round.

Rookie Cheng stumbled in her quest for her first pro title as the 18-year-old could not mount a challenge playing in the final group with overnight co-leader Supamas Sangchan (75). The Thai finished equal eighth at five strokes off the pace in a group of five players that included top Chinese rookie Shi Yuting (73).

In Pattaya, South Korean Kim Kyung-tae won the battle of nerves in his final-round duel with younger compatriot Wang Jeung-hun to win the Thailand Open by three strokes yesterday.

Kim carded a 7-under 65 in the final round to surge ahead of Wang (67) in the closing holes for a final total of 21-under at the tournament co-sanctioned by OneAsia and the Japan tours.

The Korean led by a single stroke going into the final hole but while his 19-year-old opponent succumbed to a bogey, Kim calmly holed his putt for a birdie.

All week the 28-year-old showed glimpses of his form that helped him become the first Korean to win the Japan Golf Tour money list in 2010.

"Today I had luck with me that made me a champion," Kim, who had six birdies, one eagle and a lone bogey in the last round, said at the Siam Country Club.

Wang was a stroke ahead of Kim before he made the turn, with six birdies on the front nine, but could add only another stroke on the back with bogeys on 14th and the final hole.

Overnight leader Joshua Younger of Australia could only manage a 73 to claim the third place on 14-under.

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