|Jang Ha-na, the winter of the Hana Financial Group Championship kisses the trophy during the award ceremony at Sky 72 Golf Club in Incheon, west of Seoul, Sunday. Yonhap|
By Kim Jeong-kyoo
Jang Ha-na won the Hana Financial Group Championship following an astonishing shot on the penultimate hole, Sunday, when she nearly converted her third shot into an eagle. However, she had to settle for a winning tap-in birdie.
The 27-year-old had rounds of 69-65-72-70 for an overall 12-under 276, coming from a single stroke behind to victory at the 6,579-yard Sky 72 Golf Club's Ocean Course in Incheon, west of Seoul, after setting a course record 65, Friday.
Jang edged Lee Da-yeon by a single stroke, after being winless for a year-and-a-half, to claim her first win of the season and her 11th overall on the KLPGA Tour, earning a winner's check for 375 million won.
The win was no easy matter as she had a roller-coaster final round, nearly losing out to Lee who rattled off three birdies in a row over the opening stretch to take the lead, before the miraculous approach on the 17th.
Entering the final round, Jang was a stroke shy of Kim Ji-young2 and a shot clear of Lee, while being trailed by world top star Ko Jin-young and dauntless rookie Lee Ga-young, who were two shots behind.
Jang set off with a birdie on the first hole, and after a train of six pars, also birdied the 8th, overtaking Lee, who put her tee-shot into the bunker and ended with a horrible three-putt double-bogey.
Getting through the 9th with a par, Jang made the turn at 12-under, a stroke clear of Lee at 11-under, as overnight leader Kim faded away early with a double-bogey on the 7th and a bogey on the 8th.
Lee then birdied the 10th giving her a share of the lead with Jang.
On the next hole, Jang's second shot hit the pin directly before bouncing away, and after ending with a par, she was a single stroke behind Lee, who birdied the hole.
Jang failed to get up and down for par on the par-3 12th, finding herself three strokes adrift when Lee birdied the 13th. However, this lead was reduced to a single stroke after Lee incurred another double-bogey on the 16th.
Getting through the par-3 17th without incident, she needed a birdie to force a playoff on the last hole. Until that stage, she looked like she would be the loser.
Jang hit a marvelous approach, while Lee ended up with a three-putt bogey, despite putting the ball on the green ― although it was far from the hole.
She dramatically secured her one-shot victory and then left the green emotionally wiping tears from her eyes.
Later she said, "I think I could win because I didn't give up till the last moment. It was a roller coaster final round. I paid particular attention to the wind and speed of the greens."
Long-time leader Lee settled for a tie for second place with overnight leader Kim at 11-under.
World No. 1 Ko Jin-young struggled with her game, hitting a one-over 73, and ending in a five-way tie for fourth with Choi Hye-jin and three others including Lee Ga-young.
Lee Min-jee tied for ninth with an overall 6-under, while Danielle Kang was 11th at 4-under. Alison Lee ended 17th with 2-under for a three-way tie, Lydia Ko finished at a 4-over for 33rd place.