South Korea’s Ko regains top rank with BMW Ladies Championship win

Ko Jin-young of South Korea poses with the trophy at the awards ceremony after winning the BMW Ladies Championship golf tournament in Busan October 24, 2021. — AFP pic
Ko Jin-young of South Korea poses with the trophy at the awards ceremony after winning the BMW Ladies Championship golf tournament in Busan October 24, 2021. — AFP pic

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SEOUL, Oct 25 — South Korean star Ko Jin-young regained the world’s number one spot on Sunday, capturing her fourth LPGA title of the season at the BMW Ladies Championship in South Korea.

The tournament in the port city of Busan is the third Asian event in the US LPGA season this year, after stops in Singapore and Thailand in the spring.

Ko clinched the win to cash the winner’s check of US$300,000 (RM1.2 million) in a sudden-death playoff, beating South Korea’s Lim Hee-jeong who had been leading the tournament.

It marked the fourth time the 26-year-old has come from behind in the final round to win in her Tour career.

“It was my first playoff in my professional career so my heart was fluttering,” Ko said in a televised interview after her win.

“I feel a little sorry for Hee-jeong but I think I ended up being lucky,” she added.

Ko shot a bogey-free 64 to finish regulation at 22-under 266, stretching the tournament into a playoff.

In the sudden-death playoff that began at the 18th, she came through with an outstanding hybrid shot and sank a short birdie putt to clinch victory.

“I knew Hee-jeong is a solid player and I thought I could secure second place if I played my best,” Ko said, adding: “So I was fairly relaxed.”

“I did my best but I do think it is an amazing win,” Ko said.

Lim, who did not have a bogey over 73 holes for four days, failed to come up with the final win.

With her latest victory, Ko reclaimed the top ranking from Nelly Korda of the United States, who did not play in Busan.

Ko first rose to world number one in 2019 and held the ranking for the entire 2020 season — a streak of 100 consecutive weeks — but handed over the top spot to Korda in June this year.

Sunday’s win also marked the 200th LPGA victory by a South Korean, with Pak Se-ri, Park In-bee and Kim Sei-young among the golfers who have contributed to the feat.

After Busan, LPGA has two more tournaments, with the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship in Florida in November. — AFP

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