Monday, September 22, 2014

Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic Sunday: Mi Jung Hur Turns Tables on Stacy Lewis

When Golf Channel coverage of the final round of the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic started, it looked like world #1 Stacy Lewis was going to charge past leader Mi Jung Hur.  Lewis had birdied 4 of her 1st 8 holes to get to -15, only 1 behind Hur after she bogeyed the 7th; the margin stayed 1 as Lewis birdied 10 and Hur 9 and again as Lewis birdied 13 and Hur 11.  But Hur simply outplayed Lewis down the home stretch, as she kept sticking approach after approach and sinking birdie after birdie as Lewis started burning edges, spinning out, and flat-out missing great birdie opportunities.  In the end, Hur's sweet 66 enabled her to set a tournament record at -21, beating Lewis by 4 shots.  Hur's 2nd career LPGA victory and 1st since 2009 continued the recent South Korean surge on both the LPGA and JLPGA, as Ji-Yai Shin had earlier lived up to her Final Round Queen nickname to join Evian Championship winner Hyo Joo Kim as the only 4-time winners this season in the wold of major-tour professional women's golf.

But plenty of other golfers had plenty to celebrate yesterday.  Jodi Ewart Shadoff, Moriya Jutanugarn, and Kim Kaufman moved into the top 50 on the money list, ensuring they can play as many events as they like in the tour's fall Asian swing.  At #61, Kris Tamulis might get a chance to play in some of those tournaments, as well.  3rd-place finisher Paula Reto assured herself of full status on tour next season, while Karin Sjodin, Cydney Clanton, Stacey Keating, and Perrine Delacour got themselves some kind of status for 2015 even if they don't play well in Q-School or choose not to enter it.  Plus, 10 golfers guaranteed themselves full membership by graduating from the Symetra Tour.  Oh, and the tour's Japanese contingent played well this week (except for Chie Arimura), so they should be getting pretty psyched for the Japan Women's Open in 2 weeks.  So there's plenty of congratulations to go around!

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