Yang wins playoff in South Korea
Incheon, South Korea (SportsNetwork.com) - Amy Yang birdied the first playoff hole Sunday to defeat Hee Kyung Seo and win the LPGA KEB - HanaBank Championship.
Yang closed with a 3-under 69 to end at 9-under-par 207. Seo finished one group ahead of Yang and her 4-under 68 got her in first at minus-9.
In the playoff, Yang converted a 15-foot birdie chance on No. 18 on the Ocean Course at Sky 72 Golf Club to earn her first LPGA Tour victory.
"I have been waiting for this championship for a long time, and I'm really happy get it in my home country. I think still I can't believe it," Yang said.
Last year's winner Suzann Pettersen had moved into a share of the lead, but bogeys at seven and 10, dropped her from the top spot. Pettersen birdied two of the last four holes for a 2-under 70, which left her tied for third at minus-8. She was joined there by Michelle Wie, who fired a 6-under 66 for the low round of the day, and Sei Young Kim (69).
Ha Neul Kim managed a 1-under 71 to grab sixth at 6-under 210, while Brittany Lincicome carded a 3-under 69 to take seventh at minus-5.
Second-round co-leader Anna Nordqvist tripped to a 3-over 75, which left her tied for eighth at 4-under-par 212.
Katherine Hull-Kirk, who shared the lead with Nordqvist entering the final round, struggled to a 8-over 80, which left her tied for 32nd at plus-1.
The final round saw as many as eight different players grab a piece of the lead. Yang and Seo joined that mix late in the front nine.
Before they jumped into the mix Ha Neul Kim, Nordqvist and Hull-Kirk had all had a piece of the lead and dropped from contention.
Pettersen had a pair of early birdies to take the lead, but a bogey on the seventh dropped her into a share of the top spot with Yang and Seo.
Seo had two birdies and six pars through eight holes to gain a share of the lead at minus-7. Yang joined Seo and Pettersen at that number with a birdie on the par-3 eighth. Seo dropped one back as she bogeyed the ninth.
Pettersen stumbled to a bogey at No. 10 to slide back. She rallied with two late birdies, but needed a third to get into the playoff.
Seo holed out for eagle at the par-4 11th to jump into the lead at minus-8. She bogeyed the 12th, but still led by one as Yang faltered to a bogey at par-4 11th.
Sei Young Kim, who was paired with Yang, ran off three straight birdies from the 13th to briefly take the lead at 9-under. Yang holed out for eagle on 15 to jump back to minus-8, while Seo birdied that same hole to join Yang in a share of second.
While that jostling for position was going on, Wie birdied four of the last six holes to get into the clubhouse at minus-8. Sei Young Kim bogeyed the 18th to end alongside Wie at 8-under.
Seo converted a birdie try on No. 18 to take the clubhouse lead at 9-under. Yang, in the following group, also birdied the final hole to gain a share of the lead.
"I played really well the last two days. I think the big miss was No. 14, I missed short putt. That was a big one," admitted Seo. "I'm really happy for Amy. She was waiting for really long time. I think I can wait more than her. I know it's going to be coming soon for me, so I will just wait and do my things."
When Pettersen failed to eagle the last, Seo and Yang were off to the extra session.
NOTES: Yang earned $285,000 for the win ... Seo also lost at playoff at the 2011 U.S. Women's Open ... Yang became the fourth first-time winner this season ... The LPGA Tour shifts to Taiwan next week for the Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship, where Pettersen is the defending champion again, as she rolled to a 3-stroke win over Inbee Park last year.