Photograph courtesy Golf Australia
After another brutal day at 13th Beach Golf Links, where winds once again gusted in excess of 60 kph, it was Hee Young Park who eventually emerged victorious at the ISPS Handa Vic Open after winning an all-Korean three-way playoff against Hye Jin Choi and So Yeon Ryu.
It was a war of attrition for the women professionals this afternoon at Barwon Heads, the high winds of the previous 48 hours had dried the course and the greens at 13th Beach, making scoring conditions extremely difficult.
19-year old Korean star Ayean Cho had started the day with a one-shot lead over Swede Madelene Sagstrom, and as players in the leading groups struggled in the tough conditions and slowly dropped out of contention, it was former Australian amateur champion Hye Jin Choi who withstood the conditions, shooting a superb 3 under par round on 13th Beach's Beach course to set the early clubhouse lead at 8-under par.
Former world number 1 So Yeon Ryu looked like she had squandered her chance at victory after a double-bogey at the 14th hole, however the 29-year-old fought back with birdies at 16 and 17, followed by a brave par on the 18th after driving into the penalty area from the tee.
Hee Young Park had started the day just 3 shots off the lead, and the 2-time LPGA Tour winner was another who had an up and down day, mixing 5 bogies with 4 birdies, including a vital one at the 72nd hole to join Ryu and Choi in the playoff.
The three players headed back to the 18th tee for a sudden-death playoff, and after Park miseed an eagle putt for victory from three metres, the trio once again headed back to the 18th tee. This time around both Choi and Park made birdies, Ryu had to settle for a par and was eliminated. Third time around Choi bravely holed out from 2 metres to match Park's birdie and the pair headed to the fourth playoff hole.
Choi drove into trouble in the right rough before hitting her second shot into the penalty are, leaving Park firmly in charge. The celebrations started as Park calmly 2-putted from inside 3 metres to take the title.
Australian Minjee Lee will rue her missed chances today, the 23-year-old was in the hunt to claim her third Vic Open title, however untimely bogies at 16 and 17 ruined the West Australian's chances of a dream day for the Lee family, with brother Minwoo Lee taking out the men's events.
Of the other Australians competing this week Gold Coast youngster Robyn Choi birdied her final two holes for a closing round of 71 to finish in a tie for 6th place, a career best finish on the US LPGA Tour. Victorian Su Oh steamrolled her way through the field with a closing 68 to finish on the same score as Choi, while Hannah Green rounded off a solid week with an even par round of 72 to finish in a tie for 12th place.
Of the other Australians to make it to the final day, NSW's Sarah Kemp finished 33rd while NSW amateur Stephanie Kyriacou topped off a great week to fnish 38th.
The ALPG Tour now heads to Adelaide for next week's ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open, where 144 players will compete for prizemoney of US$1.3million.
Final Round Results and Prizemoney click HERE
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