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April 17th ~ 19th (Wed. ~ Fri.)
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2018 Taiwan LPGA Tour |Taiwan Mobile Ladies Open Final-Round Notes

Lee Min (李旻) of Taiwan completed a wire-to-wire victory at the second-annual Taiwan Mobile Ladies Open, needing two play-off holes, though, to fend off the challenge from Lin Tzu-Chi (林子麒) and 15-year-old Wu Chia-Yen (吳佳晏).

With the NT$115,000 special cash prize she received for a second-round ace on the 16th, Lee has won a total paycheck of NT$101,500 this week.

Leaders in the first two rounds, Lee maintained a comfortable two-shot cushion notching three birdies before the turn at the Tong Hwa Golf Club. On the par-5, 515-yard 12th hole, Lee decided to went for a reachable second-shot from over 200-yard mark, but was caught in the water. She left with a double-bogey on the hole and was leveled by teen sensation Wu.

Lee created birdie chances on the 15th, 16th, as well as the 17th, but failed to convert, finishing on 8-under after a final-round 71. Meanwhile, Lin came up to snatch a shot on the 17th to join the leading pack. The three-way tie lasted, and forced the final-round into extra holes.

“It felt more like playing with all the good friends than competing. I didn’t really sense any pressure until the back nine,” said Lee. “But I tried to stay focused. I always push myself to be the best I can so hard that I feel lost sometimes, because things don’t always go up. Now I learn to communicate with myself, live with who I am, and make friends with myself to work out the best way for me.” A determined Lee overcame the pressure, remaining on par in the two play-off holes and saw Wu and Lin withered to claim the win.

Wu was knocked out on the first play-off hole with a bogey, where her approach shot was trapped in the roughs off the green, but it was the only bogey she made today as she finished the regular round with a bogey-free 67, earning her the low-amateur honor. “It’s was good, but to be honest I think I could do better, because I got myself a makable birdie chance on almost every hole on the front nine, but I dropped only two,” said Wu, this year’s Party Golfer Ladies Open winner.

Lin’s hopes were tarnished when she hit the second shot into the water on the second play-off hole. She managed to cut down the damage and completed the hole with a bogey, but Lee calmly sank her winning par putt.

“It was a solid round. I was really aggressive from the start and I’m happy with the way I found my way up to the lead,” said Lin, who was off to a bright start on Friday, making two birdies in the first four holes. “I had a chance to win last week as well so I just tried to fight for it today and leave no regret.” Lin carded a final-round 69. Her last victory was almost two year’s ago at the Hitachi Ladies Classic.

This is also Lee’s first title in 22 months. The 23-year-old just concluded her fourth LPGA Tour season. She hasn’t produced many notable results in the last two years and needs to play in the Monday qualifying to earn a place in the main event. Lee has collected a total of US$431,000 in career prize money on the LPGA Tour with the best major showing a T12 in the 2015 U.S. Open

“It’s been tough. I want to thank my mom for always accompanying and supporting me through the highs and lows, also my dad came today. He had to put aside his work today and came cheer for me. I’m grateful. I hope I make him proud!” Lee said. “It feels so great to play in front of the loved ones. Everybody is so friendly and warm to me. I’m truly happy all week long.”

36-hole co-leader Cheng Ssu-Chia (程思嘉) fell just inches short on her birdie putt on the 54th hole to finish at 9-under 209, tied for second with Lee Hsin (李欣), Wanchana Poruangrong, and Yupaporn Kawinpakorn. Kawinpakorn fired a low-round 65.

Having multiple TLPGA Tour titles as an amateur, Cheng didn’t transition well into the pro circuit and still looks to gain her first victory. After failing her final chance on the 18th green, she couldn’t hold the tears in disappointment.

Cheng and Lee were both in the LPGA’s Q-School event last week. “We’re good friends. We were kind of joking and saying that we’re going to take the top two spots this week. It’s almost true!” said Lee. “It’s just awesome to play with her in the leading group on the final day.”

Babe Liu (劉依貞), last week’s Tainan Professional Ladies Open winner, wrapped up this week on 6-under 210, which puts her in solo eighth.


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