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Korean Chun In-gee wins 1st LPGA title in 2 years at homeBy Yonhap
Published : Oct. 14, 2018 - 17:07
INCHEON -- Crowd favorite Chun In-gee captured her first LPGA title in two years at home Sunday.
Chun won the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship at 16-under 272 at Sky 72 Golf Club's Ocean Course, adjacent to Incheon International Airport. Chun finished three shots ahead of Charley Hull of England, who held the 54-hole lead at 12-under.
Chun carded a 66 in the final round thanks to seven birdies and one bogey, and took home $300,000 in the winner's check.
The world's top two players, Park Sung-hyun of South Korea and Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand, ended in a four-way tie for third at 12-under.
This was Chun's third career LPGA win and her first non-major title. Her previous victories came at the 2015 US Women's Open and the 2016 Evian Championship.
Chun started the day two shots behind two co-leaders, Hull and Danielle Kang of the United States, and played in a group right in front of them. With the backing of hundreds of her famously dedicated fans, Chun poured in five birdies on the front nine and added two more on the back nine, negating her lone bogey at the 10th.
Chun, the 2016 LPGA Rookie of the Year, is the seventh South Korean to win on the LPGA Tour this year. They have combined for nine victories in 27 tournaments so far.
Chun, playing in the penultimate group, and Jutanugarn, who was in the final pairing, both birdied the first two holes to set the tone at the top of the leader board. Those two quick birdies pushed Jutanugarn to the top, tied with Hull, while Chun was lurking one stroke back along with Kang.
World No. 1 Park Sung-hyun, in a group ahead of Chun, had birdies at the third and the fifth to join the fray at 11-under, but Chun continued her move up the leader board.
Chun reached the top with a birdie at the fifth, joining Jutanugarn at 13-under. Hull also got to 13-under with a birdie at the fifth.
Chun set up another birdie opportunity at the sixth, where her second shot hit the front of the green and rolled to about seven feet of the hole at the back. She drained that putt to take sole possession of the lead at 14-under.
Chun picked up her fifth birdie of the day at the ninth hole to reach 15-under, following another solid iron shot to the green.
Jutanugarn fell four shots behind Chun with a double bogey at the par-5 seventh, after losing her tee shot in the rough. She never recovered from the miscue.
Hull tried to keep pace with Chun, as a birdie at the seventh took her to 14-under and one behind the red-hot South Korean.
Chun had a hiccup with her first bogey at the 10th, which momentarily dropped her into a tie with Hull at 14-under. But Hull followed moments later with a bogey of her own and stayed one back of Chun.
Hull pulled even with Chun again thanks to a birdie at the 11th, but failed to build any momentum with a bogey on the very next hole.
Chun opened up a two-shot lead at 15-under with a birdie at the 13th. And there was no stopping Chun, who rolled in another birdie -- her seventh of the day -- at the 15th to build a three-stroke advantage at 16-under.
Hull birdied the 15th to get to within two shots again, but gave it right back with a bogey on the next hole, which killed any hopes of a comeback.
Chun began the year ranked No. 5 in the world but entered this tournament as No. 27. In 17 starts before this one, Chun had three top-10 finishes but none since early June.
But she came in with some positive momentum after helping South Korea win the UL International Crown -- an LPGA team match play competition -- in Incheon last week. Chun was the only South Korean to win all four matches in four-ball and singles.
Among other notables, defending champion Ko Jin-young blitzed the course with eight birdies en route to a 64, and finished alone in seventh at 11-under. Of the 12 Korea LPGA players who earned invitations this week, Bae Seon-woo was the top player at 10-under, which put her in a tie for eighth. (Yonhap)
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