SEOUL: South Korea’s Ko Jin-Young secured her first LPGA Tour victory on Sunday, defeating world number two and compatriot Park Sung-Hyun by two shots in the KEB Hana Bank Championship.
Ko, who entered the final round with a two-shot lead, bogeyed two of her first three holes to drop two behind a fast-starting Park. But she came back with a barrage of birdies to fire a sizzling four-under-par 68.
Ko, a nine-time winner on the local KLPGA Tour, gained five shots in an eight-hole stretch from the fifth before posting a 19-under total of 269 on the par-72 Ocean Course at the SKY72 Golf & Resort in Incheon, South Korea.
“I’ve competed in the LPGA Tour several times but I’m honored to win in Korea,” the 22-year-old told reporters.
“I am very happy to have played a good game in front of many fans,” she added.
Park, who was seeking her third LPGA Tour victory of the year and was chasing the number one title for the first time, was denied both goals and settled for second place after ending the round with a 68.
“Although I finished second, I think I played well. But there were some regrettable holes near the end,” Park said.
The 24-year-old played flawlessly over the first 13 holes with four birdies, but a three-putt bogey at the 14th put the brakes on her title bid.
Twice major champion and local favorite Chun In-Gee, playing with countrymen Park and Ko, finished third with a 69 on a sunny and breezy day.
Carlota Ciganda, who clinched victory in last year’s LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship, tied for eighth with a final-round 72.