Haikou, China: Kim Hae-rym captured the SGF 67 World Ladies Championship with SBS when she beat fellow-Korean Bae Seon-woo on the second hole of a sudden-death play-off.
With Kim (70) and Bae (69) deadlocked at 14-under 205 through 54 holes on the Mission Hills Haikou Blackstone Course, both players made par at the first extra hole, the 371-yard first.
At the next, a 524-yard par-five, Kim made light of the wet conditions with a birdie-four to seal her third career title as Bae missed an eight-foot putt that would have extended the play-off. It was the fourth consecutive year that a Korean has won the tournament.
England’s Georgia Hall (67) and Koreans Kim Min-sun (68) and Lee So-young (69) ended three strokes back in equal third in the US$620,000 tournament that was tri-sanctioned between the China LPGA Tour, the LPGA Tour of Korea (KLPGA) and the Ladies European Tour.
Li Jia-yun was the top Chinese player. The Guangdong native closed with a 71 to sit equal 27th at one-over for the tournament.
Bae had to complete the final hole of her second round early in the morning after lightning forced the suspension of play on Saturday and the 23-year-old started the third round one shot behind Kim. In round three, she carded an eagle, four birdies and two bogeys and had built up a one-stroke lead going into the final hole of regulation.
But after finding a greenside bunker on the 510-yard last, Bae had to settle for par while Kim had a tap-in birdie to force the play-off.
Going into the extra session, Kim said she felt confident as she had played in play-offs twice last year in a season where she earned her first two professional wins. On the first extra hole, however, her drive went into the lava rocks prevalent around the Blackstone Course. After finding her ball she had to take a penalty for an unplayable lie and then proceeded to get up-and-down for par.
“On the first play-off hole, I was delighted that I found my ball even though I had to declare it unplayable. I was focused on getting a par,” said the Seoul native.
Bae, who was fifth on the KLPGA Order of Merit last year, said she was not disappointed because she played well. Bae said: “This is the first event in 2017. It didn’t matter whether I could win or not. This finish just shows that I am in a good shape. There are many events to play and I think I can win some of them.”