Five Korean golfers land in top 10 at LA Open
Five Korean LPGA golfers landed in the top 10 at the Dio Implant LA Open on Sunday, with Park In-bee finishing tied for third and Choi Hye-jin, Kim Sei-young, Chella Choi and Kang Hae-ji all sharing sixth.
Park carded a seven-under-par, 277, overall to take a shared third position alongside Madelene Sagstrom of Sweden and Minjee Lee of Australia, eight strokes behind winner Nasa Hataoka of Japan, who carded a 15-under-par, 269. Hannah Green of Australia took second place with 10-under, 274.
Tying for third is Park's best result this season. Park has previously reached second at the event in 2018 and tied for fifth in 2019.
"Overall it was an okay match because I didn't make big mistakes," said Park in a post-tournament interview. "I did want to try and close the gap with the leader but my putting wasn't on point today.
Choi jumped up the leaderboard on the last day, carding the lowest final round score out of all the Korean golfers, at 66. She started out her final round with two birdies on the par-4 first and par-5 second, then bogied the par-3 fourth but bounced back with a birdie on the par-4 fifth. Choi carded seven birdies and two bogies on the last day to jump up to tie for sixth.
This is already Choi's third top-10 finish this season, her first on the LPGA Tour. Choi, a three-time KLPGA Player of the Year, became a fixture on the LPGA Tour this season after she finished eighth at the two-week LPGA Q-Series last December.
A noticeable absence in the top-10 is world No. 1 Ko Jin-young. Unlike Choi, Ko crashed after she carded a quadruple bogey on Saturday and a double bogey on Sunday. Ko is the Korean golfer to have come closest to winning the tournament in the past after she tied for second in 2018, tied for fifth in 2019 and tied for third last year.
However, Ko was out of luck this time around. She started out the first round at even par but took a solo lead on the second round at seven-under-par.
That fell apart on the 17th hole on Saturday, when Ko hit her second shot into the barranca that snakes through the golf course. Ko made a controversial choice to climb down into the steep gully and tried to hit the ball out instead of taking an unplayable lie. After failing to take the ball out twice, Ko then declared an unplayable lie. Adding to that quadruple bogey, Ko double bogeyed the par-3 seventh on the last day to finish with a two-under-par, 282 taking a tied 21st position.
The LPGA Tour continues Thursday with the inaugural Palos Verdes Championship presented by Bank of America at Palos Verdes Golf Club in California.
BY YUN SO-HYANG [firstname.lastname@example.org]