Ha Na Jang's late birdie leads to 1st LPGA Tour title | Inquirer Sports

Ha Na Jang’s late birdie leads to 1st LPGA Tour title

/ 12:42 PM February 07, 2016

Ha Na Jang

Ha Na Jang of South Korea plays a shot on the third hole during the final round of the Coates Golf Championship Presented By R+L Carriers at Golden Ocala Golf Club on February 6, 2016 in Ocala, Florida. AFP

OCALA, Florida — Ha Na Jang had to go the final 36 holes with the best player in women’s golf to capture her first LPGA Tour title Saturday (Sunday Manila time).

Lydia Ko turned out to be more of a cheerleader than a challenge.


Ko fell back in surprising fashion with three bogeys and a double bogey in a five-hole stretch. Jang suddenly had to worry more about Canadian teen Brooke Henderson, and Ko was at Jang’s side to push her along in the cold and increasing rain over the final hour at the Coates Golf Championship.


“Lydia, she say, ‘Ha Na, you can do it. You’re more confident and comfortable in your mind, no problem. Keep going, keep going,'” Jang said after closing with an even-par 72 for a two-shot victory over Henderson.

“So more confidence in my mind, too.”

Jang reclaimed the lead with a 5-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole and then added a birdie on the 18th that only affected the margin. The 23-year-old Korean was in tears when the final putt dropped on a long week brought on my heavy rain on Thursday. Jang played 54 holes over the last two days.

“It’s amazing how I feel right now,” Jang said.

She finished at 11-under 277 and earned $225,000.

“It’s been a long day, especially with the weather the last few holes, but Ha Na finished so close in so many events,” Ko said. “It was great to see her play well and finish classy with a nice birdie.”


Ko, the LPGA player of the year making her 2016 debut, was tied with Jang after they completed the third round Saturday morning at Golden Ocala.

Ko, however, fell apart in the middle of the final round. She made three straight bogeys to finish the back nine, then hit her tee shot into the water and made double bogey on the par-3 11th to fall five shots behind. She ran off three straight birdies late in her round to try to stay in it.

She closed with a 75 and tied for third, three shots behind.

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“I just couldn’t get anything going today,” Ko said. “I wasn’t hitting the ball great, and the putts weren’t dropping, either. When those two combinations go, you know you’re not going to make a lot of great birdies. But I finished strong, so I’ll take that.”

TAGS: Golf, LPGA Tour

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