Ya Ni Tseng fired a bogey-free 67 in the final round of the Hana Bank Championship to deny Na Yeon Choi a 3-peat, take her 6th LPGA title of 2011, break the $2M barrier in LPGA winnings, and open up a million-dollar lead on Cristie Kerr in the money list race, a 174-point lead on Stacy Lewis in the Rolex Player of the Year race, and a nearly 1-stroke lead on Kerr in the race for the Vare Trophy for lowest scoring average on tour. Holy racking up Hall of Fame points, Batman!
Choi briefly joined KLPGA star Soo-Jin Yang in the lead at -10 with a birdie on the 1st hole, but when her 37-hole bogey-free run ended on the very next hole and she followed it up with another bogey on the 6th, she dug herself a hole from which she could never quite extricate herself. As Yang, too, was making a pair of early bogeys to also drop to -8, Tseng opened with 4 straight pars, then reeled off birdies on 5, 6, and 8 to leap to -12. Even as Choi rallied with birdies on 7, 10, 11, and 13, Tseng kept her cool and reeled off 4 pars in a row, then retained her lead by matching the last of Choi's birdies in that run. As Choi cooled off with 4 straight pars of her own, Tseng coolly birdied the par-4 15th to open up a 2-shot lead, then parred out to remain at -14. Even though Choi birdied the final hole, it was too little, too late, as Tseng sank a little tester to secure her 11th career LPGA victory.
I'll have more after I catch up on the Golf Channel coverage. From the interviews, it sounds like Tseng took some risks on 13 and 15 and they really paid off! And from the scoreboard, it looks like Yeon-Ju Jung, Brittany Lincicome, and Anna Nordqvist put together fine Sunday charges, while Jimin Kang, Chella Choi, and Shanshan Feng qualified for the season-ending CME Titleholders.
[Update 1 (10/10/11, 10:04 am): Hound Dog rightly points out how Jimin Kang briefly held the lead and kept herself in contention for much of yesterday's round in the course of making similarly cogent observations on other matters in his tournament epilogue. Looks like it'll be awhile before I can watch the 2nd and 3rd rounds I taped, so readers will have to rely on him and others I link to for more until further notice.]
[Update 2 (10:06 am): Similarly fine job by bangkokbobby!]