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2018 Taiwan LPGA Tour | Japan Taiwan Friendship Udon-Ken Ladies Golf Tournament Final-Round Recap

Yui Kawamoto needed a final-hole eagle to prevent a play-off at the Japan Taiwan Friendship Udon-Ken Ladies Golf Tournament, and this was exactly how she responded. Kawamoto capped off the week at the Mannou Hills Country Club in style with an eagle to finish with 3-under 69, which brought her final total to 11-under 205, one shot better than compatriot Hana Wakimoto.

The victory rewarded her with JPY3,600,000 and a year’s worth of Nishino Kinryo Japanese Sake. The final-hole eagle earned her a bonus JPY300,000 cash prize, provided also by Nishino Kinryo.

With the win, Kawamoto has been qualified for the Fujisankei Ladies Classic (JLPGA Tour) and the Hitachi Ladies Classic (TLPGA Tour) in the 2019 season.

Wakimoto, the SAMPO Ladies Open champion this year, finished the 18th hole with a birdie but was still one stroke short. A total score of 206 placed her at solo second, which is worth JPY1,760,000.

The low amateur honor goes to Hou Yu-Chiang (侯羽薔), who used a Sunday 73 to wrap it up in equal tenth with Maaya Suzuki at 3-under-par 213, the best score this week among all eighteen TLPGA campaigners.

The TLPGA Ladies Open – Nan Pao winner picked up three birdies during the round, two of them on the par-5s, but couldn’t fend off four of her bogey troubles. “I was overhitting a lot. I felt I was hitting about 10 yards more than I should and making some inevitable mistakes,” said Hou. “Part of the reason was because of the passionate crowd I guess. The adrenaline rush kind of gave me more power than usual.”

“I tried, and I think I did pretty well overall, but just wasn’t giving myself enough chances on the greens,” Hou said. “At the same time, I’ve learnt a lot from this experience, from my Japanese playing partners. They were super consistent. Their mentality was keeping at a real high level. I was so impressed.”

Hou’s name, in both Chinese and English, were etched on the low-amateur trophy. “They said they’re going to send it back to my home! I felt this was such a well-run event, everything was so well-organized.” Hou was loving every second of her experience in Kagawa. “The sponsors were greeting you with smiles on the tees. The staff were treating all players with great respect. Players themselves were very humble and courteous. Needless to say, the crowd was amazingly supportive.”

In Sunday’s final round, it became a battle of two between Kawamoto and Wakimoto, who started the day with just a one-shot margin which lasted through 13 with exchange of birdies.

Wakimoto snatched the lead for the first time this week after making a second birdie in a row on the 14th while Kawamoto made bogey, but the overnight leader fought to level things up at 9-under-par with a 15th-hole birdie. The two registered pars on the following two holes, before Kawamoto finally broke the tie in convincing fashion, using an eagle performance to outshine Wakimoto’s birdie.

The Japan Taiwan Friendship Udon-Ken Ladies Golf Tournament belongs to the Japan LPGA’s Step-Up Tour, and is co-sanctioned by the TLPGA Tour. OHK Okayama Broadcasting is the co-organizer.

For the other Taiwanese who made the cut in this event, Lee Hsin (李欣) (73) finished in equal 37th at 220; Chen Hsuan (陳萱) (74) ended up in a tie for 46th at 221. TLPGA Tour money leader Chen Yu-Ju (陳宇茹) (77) and Hanna Chen (陳子涵) (78) finished with 223 and 225 respectively, sitting in T46 and solo 52nd on the final leaderboard.


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