© Michigan PGA
THOMPSONVILLE, Mich. – The 20th Michigan PGA Women’s Open at Crystal Mountain Resort was an international stop to the very last shot.
The $40,000 state championship came down to a pair of 25-year-old golfers of Asian descent who live in Australia, and it was Korean Inhong Lim who made a birdie on the first hole of sudden-death Wednesday to turn back hard-charging Corie Hou, who is Chinese.
Lim, a former Ohio State golfer who went to high school in Melbourne, Australia, rolled in an eight-foot birdie putt on the par 5 No. 18, the first playoff hole, to win the $6,000 first-place check. She finished regulation play with a 71 for 4-under-par 212.
Hou shot a 4-under-par 68, the low round of the day, to set up the playoff. On the extra hole her approach shot from 100 yards in the rough hopped just over the green. She chipped to just inches to set up a par save, but Lim ended things with the birdie.
“I had good confidence playing that hole,” Lim said. “I birdied that hole two times out of three, and I know that hole now. I was like, don’t leave it short and don’t leave it low. I hit it perfect.”
Hou, who was captain of the golf team at the University of Hawaii and had a previous professional win in Spain, said she was happy for Lim, who she has competed against in Australia in both amateur and the professional ranks.
“If she was going to win in a playoff, I’m glad she did it with a birdie,” she said.
“Two Aussies in a playoff in Michigan – it’s not too bad. I’ve never been in a playoff before, and now I have that experience. I was pretty calm, but my (approach) shot was just a few yards too long.”
Three professional golfers from the United States finished at 214, two shots out of the playoff. Erica Popson of Davenport, Fla., Rachael Schmidt of Elk River, Minn., and Ashely Tait of Littleton, Colo., each shot 72 for 214.
Kimberly Dinh of Midland, who will be a junior at the University of Wisconsin, finished as the low amateur and had the best finish of the 41 Michigan golfers in the field of 87. She shot 71 for 215. Michigan State golfer Christine Meier of Rochester Hills shot 74 and was in the group of five golfers who finished at even-par 216 for the 54-hole event.
Suzanne Green-Roebuck, a two-time former champion, closed with a 71 for 218 to tie for 12th.
Lim, who plays on the LPGA Symetra Tour and is headed for that tour’s next stop in Harris, Mich., in the Upper Peninsula (Friday through Sunday), said she had been playing well, and felt something good was going to happen in her game.
“I was playing very consistent,” she said. “I feel so happy to be here. I turned 25 on Monday, so it was a great birthday present for myself.”
She planned to call her parents as soon as possible.
“They have no idea,” she said. “They are flying today from Korea back to Australia. I will call them when they land.”
At one point Hou was 6-under-par in her round, but left a par putt on the edge of the cup on 15 and lipped out a par-save at 17.
“I suppose I could have held my nerves in the last five holes a little bit better,” she said.
“It all comes down to experience. The front nine was so much fun. The confidence was just coming out of my ears. I lost in a playoff to a birdie. I’m proud of how I did.”
Article courtesy of Greg Johnson, Michigan PGA.