Lee claims Women's China Open crown

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail SHINE, December 17, 2018
Adjust font size:
Chinese Taipei's Lee Min poses with the trophy after winning the Women's China Open at Orient Xiamen in Xiamen, southeast China's Fujian Province, on Sunday.

Clutch approach shots and a key save in the late going proved the difference for Lee Min on Sunday as the Chinese Taipei veteran won the Women's China Open by one stroke in southeastern Fujian Province.

The 23-year-old closed with a 5-under-par 67 over Orient Xiamen at the 12th national championship presented by World Golf Series to finish on 12-under 276. The victory was worth 315,00 yuan (US$45,620).

Fujian native Liu Yan sank a birdie putt from off the green at the 18th hole to close with 68 to finish runner-up. Lin Xiyu, the US LPGA regular from Guangdong, was third one stroke further back after a 69.

Lee, who started with a two-stroke lead, battled playing partners Liu and Lin all day as by the eighth hole all three were deadlocked at 9-under.

Following a birdie three at the ninth hole Lee never looked back. She would open the back nine with another birdie, one of three strokes she would pick up in the home stretch, against a lone bogey five at the 14th hole to seal the win.

"I was a little bit nervous, even though I was playing with my friends," said the Taoyuan native who played this season on the US LPGA Tour under conditional status. "I was feeling a little pressure but I just kept telling myself to just keep playing my golf and who will win the tournament will be on the 18th hole."

The key save for Lee came on the 165-yard 16th hole. After missing the green to the right and then getting relief away from a grate, her chip was heavy and rolled 20-foot past the flag on the uphill green. She then sank the long putt for par to keep the lead as Lin missed a birdie putt and ended with a four.

"That was a really tough shot. I was thinking about maybe hit a chip and run, try to bump it. But, I don't know, I just like to hit a little flop shot and it didn't really flop. My par putt was pretty aggressive," Lee said.

The win was the second straight for Lee who last month won the Taiwan Mobile Ladies Open. She also continued the victory drought for mainland players who have never won the national championship.

"This means a lot to me. I win the last tournament on the TLPGA and I win the last tournament on the CLPGA. It gives me something. I am really happy that a lot people came and supported all of us players."

In finishing runner-up, Liu moved up to third on the CLPGA Tour Order of Merit. Thailand's Saranporn Langkulgasettrin closed with a 69 to finish equal 20th to become the first player to successfully repeat as the money list champion. Along with Thailand's Supamas Sangchan (72 — equal 27th), all three players receive a spot in next year's US Women's Open.

"The result is great but I felt that I left something out there. I missed a three-footer for a birdie and didn't grasp one par-5 chance," said Liu who has twice won the US Women's Open China sectional qualifier, once as an amateur and as a rookie pro.

"I made the last putt from about 40 feet off the green and have now moved into the top three (on the Order). I felt excited to have a spot in US Women's Open, again. I am grown-up. Hopefully I can have a better finish this time."

China's Yin Ruoning was the top amateur as the 16-year-old capped off an impressive performance at the championship with a closing 67 to finish equal fourth, tied with compatriot Ren Yue (68) at three strokes off the pace.

Final-round meltdown

In Jakarta, Justin Rose failed to reclaim the world No. 1 ranking after a final-round meltdown at the Indonesian Masters on Sunday as Thai Poom Saksansin claimed the title for the second time with a three-shot victory, Reuters reported.

Rose's title defense was effectively ended by a third-round 71 but, starting the day in a share of fourth, the tie for 16th with one other player or better he needed to replace American Brooks Koepka at the top of the rankings looked straightforward.

The 38-year-old Briton's putting let him down badly, however, and he started with a bogey before adding a double bogey at the second when he twice failed to chip the ball up a bank and onto the green.

Worse was to come at the 12th when he had a reasonably gettable birdie putt but ended up with a triple bogey, which he followed with another bogey at the 13th.

The Olympic champion birdied his final two holes amid gusting winds as a storm bore down on the course but it was too little, too late and he signed for a 3-over 75 which left him in a share of 17th on 6-under.

Jazz spiced up the final round with a late surge but could not deny compatriot and 2016 champion Poom, who held the lead from the midway stage of the Asian Tour's season-ending event at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club.

Poom made a strong start with three birdies on his first six holes and signed for a final-round 68 for a winning total of 20-under 268.

Fellow Thai Jazz Janewattananond wielded a hot putter to sink six birdies and a couple of eagles in his round of 65 for second place but Poom was never really threatened.

Panuphol Pittayarat (66) completed a Thai 1-2-3 a shot ahead of Sweden's Henrik Stenson (71), who finished alone in fourth on 14-under.

India's Shubhankar Sharma, who was already assured of winning the Asian Tour's Order of Merit, missed the cut.

Follow China.org.cn on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from China.org.cnMobileRSSNewsletter