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Hong Kong Ladies Open Final-Round Recap
Date:2015-06-07

Korea’s Lee Jeong Hwa survives a final-hole scare to capture 2015 Hong Kong Ladies Open victory after carding a final-round 71 to finish at 213, fending off challenges from Taiwanese rookie Chen Yu-Ju (陳宇茹) and Thailand’s Kanphanitnan Muangkhumsakul by just one shot.

Lee had picked up one victory on the Philippine circuit before she turned pro in 2012. The Hong Kong Ladies Open marks the first professional win for Lee as she walks away with an $18,000 champion prize.

“I still get goosebumps thinking of that last putt,” said an overjoyed Lee, whose tee shot on the 18th came to rest just one-and-a-half yard inside the fence before she finished off the scare with a successful putt for bogey, what could be the best result given that driving miss.

“It’s been a tough week. We had to fight the hot weather, the small greens, overall a very challenging condition,” said Lee of the backdrop this week, the Old Course Hong Kong Golf Course. “I had a hard time controlling my putts with the slower greens at the start of the tournament but I’m happy I got to improve on that toward the end.”

Heading into today tied with 17-year-old Chen, Lee was off to a perfect start with three birdies and no bogey through to 12th, building a comfortable lead by three shots over the Taiwanese teenager.

Lee let her nerves creep in as she closed in on the finish line, making bogeys on 16th and 18th and opening a door for Chen. However, Chen could not make that final 13-incher happen to force a play-off, settling just one shot short for a tie with Muangkhumsakul for second, who had a tournament low score of 68.

“I’ve tried my best. Lee’s got an amazing short game today which gave me lots of pressure,” said Chen, who only turned pro this year. “I was not especially confident on my irons today but I continued to try to keep up with her pace. It’s a shame it came down to one shot but nothing to complain, she was great today and deserved the win.”

First-round co-leader Cheng Ssu-Chia (程思嘉), who has a high world ranking at number 118 among all fellow competitors, shrugged off heat symptoms from yesterday, shooting three birdies and one bogey to surge back with a solo sixth place finish.

“I was trying to speed it up a little bit and to place the balls in attacking positions, but the wind played a role in today’s game and I could not quite get as many birdies as I hoped.”

Taiwan’s Lee Chia-Pei (李佳霈) and amateur Chen Chih-Min (陳之敏) use 70 and 74 respectively to wrap up this week tying for fourth at 217.

The 2015 Hong Kong Ladies Open marks the first travel of the TLPGA Tour down to the Fragrant Harbour. On the pre-tournament press conference on Wednesday, the organizing committee announced to contribute HKD$100,000 from event sponsor Friends of Asia HK, to the HK Hereditary Breast Cancer Family Registry to improve the medical tools and resources and to increase breast cancer awareness and advocacy.

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