Jimin Kang was only 3 shots off the lead heading into the final round of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia event, but I never considered for a second that she would be the one to prevail in the end--and in so doing take her 2nd career LPGA title. Sure, I had just promoted her to 6th-most-likely-to-win among the golfers with 1 LPGA victory to their names, but with Jee Young Lee (#2 on the same list) leading, Natalie Gulbis (#7) in the hunt, Song-Hee Kim poised to get her 1st win, and none other than the Final Round Queen, Ji-Yai Shin, only 3 back, as well, I figured almost anyone but Kang would win.
But after erasing a 1st-hole birdie with a 2nd-hole bogey, Kang was flawless, making 6 birdies and no bogeys the rest of the way. A closing flurry of birdies--3 in her last 4 holes, including a walkoff birdie on the 54th hole--put the pressure on Inkster, who had birdied 4 of her 5 previous holes heading into 18. But as Bill Jempty notes, Inkster pushed her approach into a right-side bunker and failed to save par. And just like that, as Golf Babes notes, Kang had her 1st win since 2005.
It was another good week for Mika Miyazato, but a weak finish on moving day and an inability to match Inkster's and Kang's closing charges today relegated her into a tie for 3rd with Maria Hjorth, who kept offsetting every birdie she made today with a follow-up bogey, capped off by her last on 18. Cristie Kerr made a charge to leap to solo 8th, but she would have tied Shin for 6th if she, too, hadn't bogeyed the final hole. With Ai Miyazato unable to go low after a terrible 1st round and tied for 28th, it'll be interesting to see if she gets passed by Kerr and Shin, or just 1 of them, and whether Shin will leapfrog Kerr in the Rolex Rankings.
More on this when we return to Dunkirk. We had a great time in Rochester, haging with my parents at the Strong Museum and talking science fiction and comics with Alter Ego (who let me read Warren Ellis's Planetary--awesome!). But now it's time to hit the road to get back in time for onechan and imoto's skating lessons! Speaking of which, congratulations to Daisuke Takahashi for winning the NHK Cup today in Japan. With Sakura Yokomine winning in Japan, Bo Mee Lee in Korea, and Lee-Anne Pace in China, it's been an eventful weekend in golf! More soon....
[Update 1 (9:14 am): In the meantime, here's Hound Dog's play-by-play!]
[Update 2 (8:09 pm): We travelled all across western NY looking for a Violet (from The Incredibles) costume for onechan, to no avail. So here's Hound Dog's epilogue while we go online to find it--and then to bed!]