Ko loses after extra time…First victory for Hmong native in 191st Caen competition
South Korea’s Jin-young Ko returned to the top of the U.S. Women’s Professional Golf (LPGA) Tour for the first time in three months, but was left crying after a tee shot in overtime.
Ko finished runner-up to Megan Kang (USA) in a playoff on the final day of the LPGA Tour’s CPKC Women’s Open ($2.5 million purse) at the par-72 Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club in Vancouver, Canada, on Monday (Aug. 28).
Go, who entered the final round five strokes behind Kang, shot a 3-under 69 and was hoping for her third win of the season in three months when she went into the extra round with Kang two strokes down.
But in the overtime playoff on the 18th hole (par-4), Ko’s tee shot with her driver went wide left, over the cart path and into the woods.
After taking the penalty, Ko approached the green with her third shot, but her ball went into the rough and she reached the green in four for a double bogey.
After reaching the green in two, Kang holed out with two putts from seven meters to seal the win.
Ko squandered a chance for his third win of the season, three months after winning the Cognizant Founders Cup in May.
However, the runner-up finish was a welcome return to form for the South Korean, who hasn’t had a top-10 finish since her second win of the season and has slipped from No. 1 to No. 4 in the world rankings.
For Ko, the disappointment of losing in overtime was outweighed by the joy of being back in contention for the title.
“I was five strokes behind, so I didn’t expect to go into overtime,” said Ko, “but I played really well today. I’m happy to be playing well again,” said Ko.
“I’ve been playing badly for the past few months, so I didn’t know how to play. I forgot everything about golf,” he said, adding, “This time I did everything I could. I’m happier than if I had won. I’m satisfied because I did my best,” he added.
Ko, who received a lot of support from Korean fans, said, “I received a lot of good energy from the Korean fans. It feels good to be able to repay their unexpected support with a good performance.”
The daughter of Hmong ethnic minority parents who moved to the United States from Laos to escape communist repression during the Vietnam War, Khang was thrilled to win her first LPGA Tour event in her 191st start.
As the first Laotian and the first Hmong player to win an LPGA Tour event, she also made history for Laos and the Hmong people.
After dropping three shots through the 17th hole and trailing Ko by one stroke, Khang approached the 18th hole (par-4) and dropped her second shot to the side of the hole by one meter to force a playoff.
The second shot, which came under pressure to make birdie, was described by Kang as “the best shot of my life.”
“Eight years is a long time,” he said. I knew I would win one day,” he said, “and I’m grateful to my parents for raising me to be a golfer while working as an auto mechanic and a kindergarten teacher.”
With the $375,000 first-place prize, Caen also surpassed the $1 million mark in winnings this season ($1.283 million).
In third place at 7-under-par 281 is Yin Luning (China), who shot a 6-under 66.
Kim, who was trying to make a comeback win, shot a 2-over 74 and slipped to a tie for fourth at 6-under 282.
Despite falling short of the win, it was Kim’s best finish of the season, breaking out of a long slump.
Prior to this event, Kim had never finished in the top 10 and had missed the cut in her last two events.
Jeon In-ji, who cut three strokes, 먹튀검증 moved into a tie for eighth place (4-under 284).