Lee flies high with Asiana Airlines Open win

Lee Da-yeon captures her second title of the year as the South Korean wins the Asiana Airlines Open in dominant fashion with a six-stroke victory in east China's Shandong Province.
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Lee flies high with Asiana Airlines Open win

South Korea's Lee Da-yeon poses with the trophy after winning the Asiana Airlines Open in Weihai, east China's Shandong Province, on Sunday.

Lee Da-yeon captured her second title of the year on Sunday as the South Korean won the Asiana Airlines Open in dominant fashion with a six-stroke victory in Weihai, east China's Shandong Province.

A day after shooting 66 over the tough Weihai Point Golf Resort layout, the 21-year-old went one better in closing with a 6-under-par 65 to finish on 10-under 203 at the China LPGA-LPGA of Korea Tour co-sanctioned event.

The victory was worth KRW140 million (US$120,180) to Lee, who extended the Korean dominance of the tournament to seven straight years.

Compatriot Cho Jeong-min was a distant second after a 69, while Choi Hye-jin, the Korean teenager who leads the KLPGA Tour Order of Merit, was third at seven strokes back following a 68.

Zhang Weiwei (72) was the top Chinese in equal 13th place, 14 shots off the winning score.

With the course wet from rain in the morning, Lee, who has won her last two starts after capturing the Korea Ladies Open last month, made the most of the soft conditions.

Starting the day with a two-shot lead, Lee made a birdie three at the 345-yard second hole and then picked up further strokes at holes five and eight to make the turn at 7-under. The back nine proved automatic as she closed with three more birdies for her fourth career KLPGA Tour title.

“Today’s wind was less strong than in the past two days. But you know, I like the windy days and might have a greater chance to win. Whatever, I had a good day full of solid tee shots,” said Lee.

“Heading into the week, my focus was on accurate tee shots and I worked on them. I am very happy to do a great job on this aspect. I was very clear about what scores I had during the round. After the 16th hole, I watched the leaderboard and found out the margin was big. Then I didn’t lose my focus and had two solid pars.

“I didn’t expect that I have achieved my goal so quickly. Now I have captured two wins, including one major win, before the first half season. I need a new goal now.”

Cho, who has now finished runner-up at the tournament for two consecutive years, looked like she could put some pressure on Lee as her opening nine included three birdies to get her to 5-under. The back nine proved a different story as she closed with two bogeys, including one at the last, and another birdie.

“You definitely feel disappointed when you are not a winner. But I made some mistakes down the stretch and Lee played very great since the very beginning and had a bogey-free day,” said Cho, who started the week second on the KLPGA Tour money list.

“When she (Lee) made two birdies in a row over the 11th and 12th holes I felt it’s not my day and the victory would be hers. She played better on the approach shots even though the rain made the golf course softer. She is a worthwhile winner."

Zhang, the current CLPGA Tour Order of Merit leader, posted three birdies over the front nine to get to even par. She then found trouble on the back nine with a double-bogey six at the 440-yard 10th hole followed by consecutive bogeys starting at the 12th hole.

“It’s a good day for a decent score with nearly no wind out there. Obviously, I took advantage of it on the front nine and made some nice birdies and surged into the top 10. After that, I thought about many things and had a bad shot off the 10th tee,” said the Hubei native, a two-time winner this season.

“I felt disappointed for the last few holes where I left a couple of shots. On the whole, I didn’t play to the best on the back nine.”

Kim Ka-young was the top amateur as the Korean teenager closed with a 73 to finish equal 26th.

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