Im Jin-hee takes her first season win at McCol Mona Park Open
Im Jin-hee took a wire-to-wire victory at the McCol Mona Park Open with SBS Golf on Sunday at Birch Hill Golf Club in Pyeongchang, Gangwon, two strokes over rookie Yoon In-a.
Despite missing out on a chance to win her first ever KLPGA title, Yoon showed a strong performance throughout the three days, putting pressure on Im.
The McCol Mona Park Open is a three-day, 54-hole event. Im started out her first round with two birdies in a row on Friday then bogied the par-4 ninth but added four birdies, carding a 67 on the first day.
Yoon also carded a 67 on Friday. Despite starting out with two bogies, she bounced back with three birdies in the first half, then in the par-4 11th, she eagled the hole and added two more birdies, keeping up with Im.
Im and Yoon both had a quieter round on Saturday, with Im adding four birdies and one bogey and Yoon carding three birdies and two bogies.
In the final round, Yoon's form seemed to waver as she double bogied the par-5 third while Im kept her pace.
While Im's steady play kept her on top of the leaderboard, Yoon found her form back on the par-4 ninth, carding four birdies in a row. Yoon did not give up until the end, even after bogeying the par-4 15th, and birdied the par-3 17th and par-4 18th.
In the last hole, two strokes behind Im, Yoon was looking for an eagle and showed off a stunt of landing her second shot on the green on a par-5 hole. Her second shot flew 250.7 yards, leaving a 7.7-yard putt for an eagle.
Despite missing out on the eagle putt, showing off such a strong performance as a rookie player is itself an achievement for Yoon.
Im debuted on the Tour in 2016 and won her first KLPGA title last year at the BC Card Hankyung Ladies Open, coming from behind to overcome a five-stroke gap in the final round.
"I am so happy that I was able to pull off a wire-to-wire victory," Im said at a post-match interview.
"I wasn't happy with my performance last week, and I think it was because of my greed. So I thought that I should focus on what I can do well this week."
Last week, Im played this year's BC Card Hankyung Ladies Open as a defending champion for the first time in her career. Im finished tied at sixth place. Yoon had finished third while Park Min-ji won after a playoff against Park Ji-young.
"This week's victory feels very different from my first-ever win," said Im.
"My first win was more unexpected, and I think I was lucky then. But now, I think I have worked hard to earn my win, so I think that will build my confidence."
This is Im's first win of the season. Before Sunday, Im's best result was a third-place finish at the first tournament of the season in April, the Lotte Rent-a-Car Open. Of the 11 events she has teed off in, Im has now made the cut in eight and has four top-10 finishes.
"My aim for this season now is to add more wins," said Im.
"I want to be able to win a purse of 700 million won [$539,000] at least and will work hard for my second win of the season."
The KLPGA Tour continues Friday with the DAEBO hausD Open.
BY YUN SO-HYANG [firstname.lastname@example.org]