News and Media

Date: 07/06/2015

Lee Wins Inaugural HK Ladies Open

Twenty-year-old Korean claims her first professional title with an assured final-round performance over the Old Course at The Hong Kong Golf Club, while local amateurs Tiffany Chan and Vivian Lee finish in a share of 13th.

Korea's Lee Jeong-hwa held her nerve in the searing heat at Fanling to capture the inaugural Hong Kong Ladies Open with a gutsy final-round performance.

The 20-year-old from Busan, who held a share of the overnight lead alongside Chinese Taipei's Chen Yu-ju, closed with a 71 for a three-under-par total, one shot ahead of playing partner Yu and the fast finishing Kanphantitnan Muangkhumsakul of Thailand for her maiden professional title.

"I am so excited, it's an amazing feeling to win for the first time," said Lee, who left The Hong Kong Golf Club with a cheque for US$18,000. "Before this week I was only looking for a top 10, but I managed to win the tournament – it's a wonderful surprise."

Lee, who spends most of the season playing on the Korean LPGA Tour, built a three-shot lead through 15 holes after playing near flawless golf over the historic Old Course. Starting her round with eight consecutive pars, the former Philippines Ladies Amateur champion made three birdies in four holes around the turn before dropping her first shot of the day at the difficult par-3 16th. Another bogey at the last, after she pulled her drive, failed to take the gloss off what was an impressive all-round performance.

"I felt confident before the start of the round but this golf course isn't easy at all – the greens are so small and you have to be very precise," explained Lee. "I felt good all day until the last hole when I knew I had my chance. Luckily I did enough to win and I look forward to returning next year to defend my title."

After all six local amateurs made Saturday's cut, it was the experienced Tiffany Chan Tsz-ching and  talented youngster Vivian Lee Kai-wing who finished as Hong Kong's strongest performers. The pair ended the US$120,000 tournament in a share of 13th place on seven-over.

"I didn't have my best out there this week but to play in the first Hong Kong Ladies Open has been a fantastic experience," said the highly rated Chan, who reached the top 10 of the World Amateur Golf Ranking late last year. "A lot of people came out and watched and the atmosphere has been really great – it feels a lot like the men's Hong Kong Open. 

"There's been really good support from the crowds," added Chan, who is set to defend her World University Championship title in Korea in early July.

For 16-year-old Lee, the tournament opened her eyes to the world of professional golf. 

"It's been a really great week," said Lee, who finished runner-up at the Hong Kong Ladies Close Amateur earlier this year."Although I played well I really have a lot to learn from the pros. Their golf course management and the way they control their emotions are probably the biggest differences for me and those are things are what I have to work on.