Sarah Kemp (Photo: Getty)
South Korean Mirim Lee captured her second LPGA title, while NSW Sarah Kemp was the best performed Australian at the Reignwood LPGA Classic in China on the week-end.
At the end of a six plus hour round, Lee edged out both Swede Caroline Hedwall and Rolex World No.1 Stacy Lewis for her second career win, both coming in the last two and a half months.
Lee was able to battle windy conditions and nerves to claim a surprising victory and add to an already incredibly successful rookie season.
Lee posted rounds of 70, 68, 70 and 69 on the par 73 layout at the Reignwood Pine Valley Golf Club near Beijing to finish at 15-under-par and just one ahead of Hedwall. Fellow South Koreans Haeji Kang, Inbee Park and American Brittany Lang rounded out the top 5 after they all finished at 12-under-par.
“I really didn’t think I would get my second win this quickly.” Lee said. “I was a lot more nervous this time than first time around. I think I made a few mistakes towards the end, especially on the 18th. I’m really happy I won the tournament, and it was good.”
Stacy Lewis either led or was tied for the lead after the first three rounds but the No. 1 ranked player struggled especially on the back nine, finishing the day with a 75 and 11-under for the tournament. Although she may have not played as well as she liked, she managed to influence the young Lee during the round. “Usually when I play my rounds I don’t watch the other players.” Lee said of playing with Lewis. “Today I really observed how Stacy played, and she was such a phenomenal player. It shows why she is the No. 1 player in the world.”
Lee claims to have been nervous but she shot a dagger in the heart of both Hedwall and Lewis with her up and down on 17 off a rock before sinking a 12-foot putt. “The ball was actually on the rock.” Lee said. “It went to the direction I wanted it to go, but it wasn’t the momentum that I wanted. So I was telling it to sit down and sit, but I think the result was pretty good. I was happy with the outcome. Hedwall was aware that victory may not be hers at that point. “Of course you’re always a little disappointed that you couldn’t pull it off and win.” Hedwall said of her finish. “At the same time, the up and down she made on 17 was just incredible.” Kemp posted rounds of 72, 74, 73 and 75 to finish at two-over-par and tied for 45th. Sarah Jane Smith was the only other Australian in the limited field event. Smith finished in share for 58th position after rounds of 76, 74, 70 and 78. The LPGA continues its Asian swing in Malaysia this week at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia tournament. Katherine Kirk, Sarah Jane Smith and Karrie Webb are the only Aussies in the field