World Ladies Championship
Round 3 - Hae Rym Kim wins World Ladies Championship in playoffMarch 19, 2017
Haikou, China : Overnight leader Hae Rym Kim held her nerve to win a dramatic two-hole play-off against fellow South Korean Seon Woo Bae at the SGF67 World Ladies Championship with SBS in China, a tri-sanctioned event between the LET, CLPGA and KLPGA Tours.
Kim holed a four-foot birdie putt on the second play-off hole, the par-5 18th on the Blackstone Course at Mission Hills Resort Haikou, to become the fourth straight South Korean winner of the title, following Inbee Park, So Yeon Ryu and Jung Min Lee.
Before the play-off, Kim made a similar birdie putt of four feet on the 18th green to tie with Bae at 14-under-par after 54 holes and force the play-off, the pair having recorded rounds of 70 and 69 respectively on an overcast and breezy day on Hainan Island.
With two previous wins on the LPGA of Korea in 2016, the 27-year-old Kim said: “I played in play-offs twice last year, so I felt a lot more confident about it this time.”
However, there were signs of nerves on the first play-off hole when she drove right from the 18th tee into the black lava rocks and took an unplayable drop. Despite appearances, Kim said: “On the first play-off hole, I was delighted that I found my ball even though I had to declare it unplayable. I felt that was a chance and it helped me. I was focused on getting a par.”
A delicate chip to tap-in distance set up Kim’s par and the pair then returned to the 18th tee after Bae’s birdie putt of eight feet ended just wide of the hole.
On the second play-off hole, Bae chipped her ball six feet past the hole and faced another birdie putt on a similar line, but again, her ball ended just wide on the right side.
Kim smelled blood and duly made her birdie putt. She said afterwards: “I watched Bae’s game and her micro-expressions and knew what she was thinking deep in her mind. That’s the key. I knew her and I could adjust my strategy according to her expressions.”
Bae wasn’t too disappointed and said: “I feel fine, because it was just the first tournament of 2017 and there are 29 more to be played. I didn’t hit a bad shot, it was just an unlucky day.”
England’s Georgia Hall, hunting European Solheim Cup points, ended three strokes back in a share of third position with South Korean pair Soyoung Lee and Min Sun Kim on 11-under-par.
The 20-year-old from Bournemouth said: “I played well and my long game was really good. My putting wasn’t quite there today and I couldn’t see the lines as well as the last two days and my pace was a bit off. I left quite a lot short actually, but my long game all week has been amazing, and my putting has as well, apart from today. I had 33 putts today and shot three-under, so if I had reached the hole with more of my putts then I might have been in a play-off, but I didn’t, so I’m joint third and I’m very happy with that. I only missed one fairway and I missed two on the previous two days.”
Comparing her own game to playing partners Kim and Bae, Hall said: “My long game I think was better than theirs, but they putted better, which is why they are in the position they are. They both played really well, so they deserve to be up there.”
Scotland’s Kylie Henry finished five strokes further back in 13th place, before jetting off to Thailand on her honeymoon and the 2015 Rookie of the Year Emily Kristine Pedersen from Denmark tied for 14th position on five-under-par.
This was the second of the two Ladies European Tours events played so far in 2017 and both have ended in play-offs. The next tournament will be the Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco on April 13-16.
Round 2 - Hae Rym Kim holds clubhouse lead as play suspendedMarch 18, 2017
Hae Rym Kim held a one stroke clubhouse lead on 11-under-par at the SGF67 World Ladies Championship with SBS at Mission Hills Haikou in China as play was suspended for the day at 4.59pm due to electrical storms and then bad light.
Fellow South Korean Seon Woo Bae, who was about to play her third shot to the Blackstone Course’s 18th green when the siren sounded and needs a birdie to tie for the lead, is one of the players who will resume their second rounds at 7.15am on Sunday, before the final round.
Meanwhile, overnight leader Georgia Hall recorded her second-round score of two-under-par 71 just in time to avoid an early alarm call. She is currently lying in third place, three shots from the lead, having recovered from a shaky start.
One ahead going into the second round, the Bournemouth 20-year-old had slipped eight shots adrift of the lead after playing the front nine in three-over-par, with a bogey on the fourth followed by a double bogey at the short eighth, however she made five birdies on the back nine, at holes 11, 12, 14, 16 and 17.
Hall said: “The front nine is so much harder than the back nine and I thought before I teed off, if I can go around the front nine in level par, I’ll be happy. I was just hanging on to three-over and then I holed a 20-footer on 10 to stay three-over and then I got a birdie on 11 and I started playing well from there.
“I didn’t play badly on the front nine, it was just so windy and about a two-and-a-half club wind. I got a few clubs wrong and I was struggling to find where the wind was going. I hit good shots, but they were around 20 feet past the hole, so I never really had a birdie chance on the front nine.
“I played well again today and putted well. I think I had 27 putts, so I knew my game was there, I just had to be more patient for the back nine where there are more birdie opportunities, which I managed to take.”
Kylie Henry is a shot further behind in fourth position, within sight of a third Ladies European Tour title. The Scot also had 27 putts as she carded a three-under-par 70 for a 36-hole total of seven-under-par, having posted an eagle, five birdies and four bogeys in her second round.
The two-time LET winner, who picked up victories in the Netherlands and Germany in 2014, tied the knot with European Tour professional Scott Henry on 29th December and will jet off to Thailand for her honeymoon after the final round on Sunday. While she will leave her clubs behind for the eight-night trip to Ko Samui, she hopes to carry the trophy with her.
She said: “I’m just really excited for tomorrow and happy to be in the position that I’m in. I’ll try to play well again and do the best that I possibly can. It’s been Korean dominance in this event, but there are a few LET players on the leader board so hopefully one of us can take the trophy home.”
Florentyna Parker, who started at the 10th and was four-under for her first three holes, is a shot further back in a share of fifth place with South Korean Jin young Ko on six-under-par and she said: “It was a great wake-up call this morning, starting birdie, birdie, eagle. That basically got me going and I didn’t do much after that.”
The two-time LET winner birdied the long 18th for a back nine of five-under and played the front nine in level par, with a birdie on the second and a bogey on the seventh hole.
“I played quite nicely yesterday but wasn’t near the pin as I got some of the wrong slopes and today it seemed to be more in my favour. I’m looking forward to tomorrow,” Parker added.
Kim, who had six birdies in a bogey-free round, said: “I made the most of the par-5 holes out there and had six birdies. Today, the wind was blowing a bit more than yesterday, but I think that was the reason I was able to score well.”
Earlier in the day, Patricia Sanz Barrio from Spain made her first hole-in-one at the 180-yard par-3 11th hole using a 19-degree hybrid and was presented with a bottle of fizz after her round. She said: “I have never had a hole-in-one before and I thought it would be close, but I didn’t know. We all saw the ball go into the hole. It bounced in and we were like, ‘woah!’”
Once the second round has been completed and the cut has been made to the leading 60 players and ties, a draw for the third round will be released. The third and final round is scheduled to commence at approximately 10am local time, with a live television broadcast from 1.30pm until the scheduled completion of play at 5pm.
Round 1 - Georgia Hall takes opening lead in ChinaMarch 17, 2017
England’s Georgia Hall shot a solid six-under-par 67 in warm and breezy conditions to take a one stroke lead after the first round of the SGF67 World Ladies Championship with SBS on Friday at Mission Hills Haikou on Hainan Island.
The 20-year-old from Bournemouth started her first Ladies European Tour event of the 2017 season with a par on the 10th of the Blackstone Course and then made the first of three straight birdies when she holed a bunker shot on the par-3 11th.
Further birdies at the 16th and 18th saw the Solheim Cup prospect complete a back nine of five-under 32 and her stunning round continued when she birdied the third and sixth holes to reach seven-under-par. She made her only bogey on her last hole, the par-4 ninth, after hitting an aggressive approach shot over the green, before leaving a tricky chip 10 feet short and then hitting her first putt too forcefully.
“I played faultless all the way around apart from on the last hole. I think I lost a bit of concentration. I putted amazingly, it was one of the best putting rounds I’ve ever had and I didn’t really do a shot wrong so I’m very happy with my first round,” said Hall, who is aiming for her first title on the LET.
“I wanted to take advantage of my morning round, so I’m happy I did. You’ve really got to place the ball well off the tees and be a good driving player, which is probably the strongest part of my game. I knew if I hit my driver well and holed some good putts, I wouldn’t be too far away.
“I focused on my putting yesterday afternoon and tried to follow through a bit more and it was so much better. I went out this morning and felt so much more confident. I had 25 putts, which is really good for me.”
Hall said that she doesn’t like change and hasn’t touched her swing or seen her coach since November last year, after she posted a career best finish of second in the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open in Abu Dhabi, but she has recently put a new set of Tileist irons into her bag, with lofts which are two degrees stronger and is hitting her irons around three to four yards further than last year.
Hall ended the day with a one-stroke lead over South Korean duo Ye Jin Kim and Hae Rym Kim, who held a share of the lead on six-under-par, before hitting her tee shot into the lake on the par-5 18th hole and making a bogey.
Scotland’s Kylie Henry, who was recently married, shot 69 to share fourth place with South Koreans So Yeon Park, Seon Woo Bae, Jin Joo Hong and Ji Hyun Lee and she also credited an exceptional day on the greens.
Henry, (née Walker), said: “I’m really happy with that because I started on 10 and I was level par for the back nine and then four-under on my last nine holes. It’s a good score. I just putted really solidly today and had 24 putts, which is a record for me.”
Gwladys Nocera from France and Camilla Lennarth of Sweden are part of a group tied for ninth spot on three-under-par alongside six South Korean players in the 54-hole stroke play event which is tri-sanctioned by the LET, CLPGA and KLPGA tours.
There will be a cut to the leading 60 professional players and ties after 36 holes, with live TV and online coverage for the second and third rounds over the weekend.
Chinese players will face their first big test of the year against a world-class field when the SGF67 World Ladies Championship with SBS tees off Friday in Hainan Island.
With only 12 mainland players entered in the field at Mission Hills Haikou, the fact that China No.1 Feng Shanshan won the inaugural tournament in 2012 has provided inspiration this week for her compatriots that have emerged in her wake.
Hainan-based pro Zhang Weiwei remembers coming to the first tournament at Mission Hills Haikou as a spectator and witnessing Shanshan’s historic victory. She called the event, which is now in its sixth year, special to her.
“Feng Shanshan won that year. It was a proud time for every Chinese player. I had my dream. I thought that I could play this event against the elite players across the world one day. I did it in 2015, but I am really happy that it comes back this year,” said the 26-year-old on Wednesday following her practice round.
With the event returning to the Mission Hills Haikou Blackstone Course where it was played the first four years after being played at Mission Hills Dongguan last year when Korean Lee Jung-min won by a stroke, Zhang said she had played the 6,362-yard, par-73 Blackstone course countless times in practice.
The Schmidt-Curley design is unique in that it is built over a lava field where any miss-hit shot can disappear into the abundance of rocks that cover the layout.
Zhang, who played on the Ladies European Tour (LET) as a rookie in 2015 and on the China LPGA Tour last year, said her familiarity with the course put her in good standing.
“I have finished top-25 in two tournaments I have played here, so I feel a low score is out there. There are five par-5 holes, and four of them are reachable, and you should seize the scoring opportunities. The rest is all about limiting your mistakes. You must avoid sloppy bogeys. I like my chance this week,” she said.
“During the off-season, I worked hard on my game. I spent a lot of time on my short game. I believe my long game is always good, but short game is my soft spot. It kept me away from a higher level.”
With the US$700,000 event tri-sanctioned between the China LPGA Tour, LET and the LPGA Tour of Korea (KLPGA), the 126-player field includes 40 players from each Tour plus six sponsor invites.
Korean players, who have won the past three years, will be strong again as they include eight of the top-10 KLPGA players on the Order of Merit, among them Ko Jin-young, Kim Min-sun, Jang Su-yeon and Lee Seung-hyun, as well as defending champion Lee (below).
Jung Min Lee of South Korea poses with her trophy during the Prize giving ceremony of the World Ladies Championship 2016 on 13 March 2016 at Mission Hills Olazabal Golf Course in Dongguan, China. Photo by Victor Fraile / Power Sport Images
Europe’s top hopes include England’s Florentyna Parker and Georgia Hall, France’s Isabelle Boineau and Gwladys Nocera, Holland’s Anne Van Dam, Spaniard Nuria Iturrios and Danish trio Nanna Koerstz Madsen, Emily Kristine Pedersen and Nicole Broch Larsen. Also in the field is Thai Supamas Sangchan, Australian Rebecca Artis.
Van Dam is relishing her first visit to the World Ladies Championship, following her maiden LET win at the Xiamen International Ladies Open in China in October.
She said: “It felt really good to get the win and to have the confidence that I am able to win on tour. The Blackstone Course is a great test and I’m really excited to be here. I hope to play well and of course I would love to win again.”
Despite the star-power on display in Haikou, Chinese veteran Li Jiayun said she was looking forward to competing against the top players to see where her game was at after practicing in Florida for the past month.
“Gary Gilchrist (Shanshan’s coach) worked with us and he made things simple. He didn’t try to reshape your swing wholly, just a little so you would see the pay-off. He is good at the mental game. He always gives you positive opinions and encourages you to love this game. I learned a lot,” said the 28-year-old Guangzhou native who last year won the Le Coq Sportif Beijing Ladies Classic for her second China LPGA Tour win.
“The Blackstone is familiar. I had two starts here. This set-up seemed not long, but it played not short. I don’t know why. The reason might be wet fairways.”