In takes first KLPGA Tour win
Heading into the final hole, In led the field with a one-shot lead from a birdie on the par-5 17th. Kim finished her round with a birdie on the par-4 18th, so the two tied for the lead, forcing a sudden-death playoff.
As both In and Kim made pars on the first playoff hole, the two players had to play the par-4 18th hole again. After Kim left herself with a downhill putt on the green, In’s second shot landed just short of the hole, leaving herself a better chance of a birdie with an uphill shot. Kim missed her birdie putt and In made the uphill birdie putt to finally win her first KLPGA Tour event.
“I got really nervous in the beginning but I kept on reading ‘don’t get nervous,’ which I wrote on my yardage book,” In said.
Unlike the other KLPGA Tour players, In played in both the KLPGA Tour events and the Dream Tour events during her eventful 2017 season. As golfers that finish outside of the top 60 in the end-of-season money ranking lose their KLPGA Tour status card, In scheduled her season to play in both the KLPGA Tour events and the Dream Tour events.
In played KLPGA Tour events on the weekends, and on weekdays, she played Dream Tour events. It may have been a rough schedule, but her plan worked out perfectly, as she failed to finish inside top-60 in the money list last season but she was still able to secure KLPGA Tour status. As she competed in 25 events last year, In missed 11 cuts, leading her to finish 71st in the money ranking. However, as she finished second in the money ranking on the Dream Tour, she was able to secure her KLPGA Tour status for this season, as the top 10 Dream Tour earners are invited to the KLPGA. This season, In is only focused on playing KLPGA Tour events.
“My parents were the first thing that came to my mind,” In said. “I want to play better and make my parents happier.”
Kim had to once again walk away from a victory, as she lost in the second playoff hole. Throughout her five seasons on the KLPGA Tour, Kim hasn’t won a tournament.
Kim Ji-young, the defending champion, finished tied for 16th at four under par. Jang Ha-na and Choi Hye-jin, the top two players in this season’s money list, finished tied for fourth at seven under par.
Lee Jeong-eun, who won four tournaments last season and was the KLPGA player of the year, withdrew from the tournament after the first round for the first time in her KLPGA Tour career due to muscle pain in her right arm.
The KLPGA Tour will continue at the 2018 Doosan Match Play Championship at Ladena Resort in Chuncheon, Gangwon, from May 16 to 20.
BY KANG YOO-RIM AND SUNG HO-JUN [email@example.com]