Golf: South Korean Jin Young Ko wins 'Asia's Major' in thrilling finish at Sentosa
World Number One extends her win percentage, notching up an incredible sixth win from her last 10 tournaments
Jin Young Ko holds aloft the 2022 HSBC Women's World Championship trophy at Sentosa Golf Club. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Singapore, 6 March 2022 – Jin Young Ko saved her best until last at Sentosa Golf Club to win the HSBC Women’s World Championship by a two-shot margin over Minjee Lee and In Gee Chun.
Once again, the championship went down to the wire, with the world number one tied with fellow South Korean Jeongeun Lee6 at 16-under par as they headed to the 18th.
Jin Young Ko speaks to members of media at a press conference after her 2022 HSBC Women's World Championship win. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Ice-cool under pressure, Ko birdied the last to close for 6-under par 66 and 17-under on aggregate.
With Lee6 finding a bunker on her second shot followed by the rough to the edge of the green, Ko knew she had done enough to add one of the most prestigious trophies in Asia to her tally of 12 LPGA Tour wins.
Jin Young Ko celebrates her victory at the 2022 HSBC Women's World Championship. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Ko Extends Win Percentage
In her first tournament of the year, Ko extended her win percentage, notching up an incredible sixth win from her last 10 tournaments. In an all-time LPGA record, it was also her 15th consecutive score in the 60s.
Ko said of her win: "I'm so happy. I feel amazing right now. It's tough playing with two Korean players. They are amazing players. We are still close friends. It's always hard to be playing in the last group, the last round with the Korean players. But yeah, just happy."
Speaking about her new LPGA record, Ko added: "It's a great honor, it's a new record."
Minjee Lee celebrating with her caddie Jason Gilroyed on the Final Day of the HSBC Women's World Championship 2022. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Minjee Lee played herself right into contention in round four, shooting the low score of the tournament, a 9-under par 63 to propel her up the leaderboard. With a haul of seven birdies on the back nine, the Perth-based player continued her impressive showing at the championship.
Lee said: "I hit it really well today. I had a lot of really close looks at birdies. And although I made two bogeys, I had 11 birdies. So don't think I can really complain."
Lee: 'Nice to Receive Support'
Speaking about the return of a limited number of spectators to the course, Lee added: "I think everybody's itching to get out. Just having some support out on the golf course and around the 18th. I think it is really nice."
Overnight leader In Gee Chun wasn't able to repeat the form she showed on Saturday to challenge for the title, having to settle for 3-under par 69. The South Korean said:
In Gee Chun competing on the Final Day of the HSBC Women's World Championship 2022. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
"It was a tough game for me during this week because I had a spasm in my neck. I'm not happy, but still I'm proud I made the top two because I tried my best. But Jin Young made some really good shots and good putts. She showed me why she's the number one. I was really happy to play with the world's best players like Jin Young and Jeongeun today.
"I really like Singapore, it's one of my favorite countries and I love to play at Sentosa. The greenkeepers did a great job!"
Thitikul Unable to Maintain Great Start
Thai teenager Atthaya Thitikul got off to a storming start, making five birdies on the front nine to open up a one-shot lead over the chasing pack. But luck was against her after the turn as birdie putts refused to drop.
A dropped shot on the par-3 17th put paid to her efforts but the prodigious talent will take heart from what has been an outstanding performance over four days in her rookie year on tour.
Atthaya Thitikul in action on the Final Day of the 2022 HSBC Women's World Championship. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Tied in fourth place alongside Lee6, at 14-under par, Thitikul said: “Well, I would say this week is pretty great. As I said all along, it's not my A game but I would say it's good enough for me having changed equipment, started on the LPGA Tour, and then everyone has an eye on me, pressure is on me. But, all good for this week. Good enough."
"It always feels amazing to be back here in Singapore. I feel like home. All the winners, people, food, everything. I definitely want to come back here for many more years."
Brooke Henderson, Hannah Green and Amy Yang finished tied in sixth, with Green putting in a second consecutive 6-under-par round, no doubt leaving her wondering what might have been if it wasn’t for her opening round of 74.
Singapore’s Sock Hwee Koh finished with a respectable 1-over par 73 following a 71 in round three. Speaking about her fourth appearance in the HSBC Women’s World Championship, Koh said: "I didn’t start the tournament well, it was quite disappointing, because I felt good coming into the event. But I guess I made up for it over the weekend."
"I shot one under yesterday, one over today. I can’t really say it was nerves, I think I didn’t handle the bad shots well, but overall, even if the results were not what I wanted I still played my heart out to try and get a good round, so I guess I’m quite happy with what I did over the weekend."
With the low-round of the tournament, the Singapore Airlines Round of the Day was awarded to Minjee Lee.