Na Yeon Choi wins the Hana Bank Championship again

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Kevin Harvick

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  • Na Yeon Choi wins the Hana Bank Championship again

Na Yeon Choi wins the Hana Bank Championship again

The defending Champion of the Hana Bank Championship, Na Yeon Choi, struck again and took the title as she carded a 3-under 69 in Incheon, South Korea. Overall, Choi finished at 10-under-206 for her fourth LPGA Tour title. Earlier this year, Na Yeon also won the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic and really caught attention by winning the Hana Bank Championship for the second time.

"I am really happy to defend my title this year," said Choi through a translator. "There were a lot of expectations from the fans that I have to defend my title. In order to live up to those expectations, I had to let everything out on the course and concentrate on every shot. That paid off."

Choi is the second professional golfer after Lorena Ochoa to have defended a title in the LPGA. Ochoa consecutively won the LPGA Navistar Classic in the year 2008 and 2009. With her US$ 270,000 cheque from the win, Choi replace Shin Ji-yai from the top of the money list with a total of $1.74 million.

Vicky Hurst, who was leading the field at one point, carded a two-under 70 and finished in second place at minus eight. Song-Hee Kim, who was on top of the leader board in the first two rounds, slipped in the final round and came in third place due to the one-over 73 she posted.

From the looks of it, the final round was pretty competitive with Kim, Hurst and Choi so near victory. They all played together in the final group on Sunday. Kim, who despite being a very talented player hasn’t had a LPGA win yet. She opened the final round with a birdie and posted birdies on the fifth and seventh hole and was two strokes ahead of Hurst and three ahead of Choi.

The downfall started when Kim shot a bogey on the ninth hole and things got worse for the player when she bogeyed the next hole as well. Kim had a very a bogey-full final round which was probably the reason for her third place finish. She said she was happy to play in such a big crowd in Korea. Even though Kim was disappointed by the result, she said that she tried her best.

Na Yeon did well in the first nine holes where she carded birdies on the eight and fourth hole. Going for the back nine holes, Na Yeon was at minus nine.  Choi slipped on a bogey at the twelfth hole but was still leading since Kim bogeyed that hole as well. A birdie on the next hole pushed Choi in the lead yet again. Shooting a couple of pars, Choi then bogeyed the 16th hole and then pared the last two holes to snatch the win.Choi, who is best friends with Song-Hee said that she can’t think about friendship on the course. It’s about competition and she made quite an effort to focus on the game.  Na-Yeon said that if she had thought about her friendship with Song-Hee, she wouldn’t have concentrated the way she did.

The runner-up of the tournament, Vicky Hurst, started off well with consecutive birdies on the second. She birdied the seventh hole for three in a row. She tripped on the 12th hole that she bogeyed and then achieved par on the remaining eight holes to finish second place.

As for the other ladies, they tried as much as they could as well. Jiyai Shin (69) and Suzann Pettersen (70) whose world ranking is second and fourth respectively tied with Paula Creamer (67) at fourth place. The fresh World number one player, Cristie Kerr, carded three back to back 71’s and tied for twelfth with a minus three.

The winner recently turned 23 on Thursday and has surely gotten a nice present from her career. Looking at how well she is doing at such a young age, it looks like Na Yeon Choi has a bright future ahead.

 

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