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Kang Ji-min’s First LPGA Victory

Posted May. 31, 2005 06:37,   


The first LGPA victory of her dreams was not easy to achieve.

After succeeding in a three-on on the 14th hole (par-5), Kang Ji-min (25, CJ) grasped a two-meter birdie chance.

However, “Birdie’s little brother is not par but bogey,” a common joke among weekend golfers, became a reality and Kang ended up with a bogey instead after three unbelievable putts. By losing one shot, she fell into a tie for second place with a 12-under-par.

Her hopes for victory seemed all but gone.

But Kang, who is usually of an easygoing temperament, was not to be shaken. Walking towards the 15th hole (par-3) she repeated the following words over and over again: “Ji-min, it’s okay. It’s only golf. Just move on. It will be fine.”

Could her own spell have worked?

Kang Ji-min made a light tee-shot with a nine-iron at 125 yards. The ball, which dropped to the left of the green and bounced three times made an amazing right turn and disappeared into the cup.

This was her fifth hole-in-one, and the first in her pro career.

The moment the ball disappeared Kang Ji-min jumped up and down on the ground and shouted, “Oh my God!” She could not hide her excitement as she high-fived individuals in the gallery.

A hole-on-one, which is said to have a chance of happening of less than one in ten thousand, had happened in a crucial moment. Kang Ji-min explained that she gripped a longer club because Lee Mee-na’s tee shot seemed slightly short when she saw her tee-off before her in their group.

Now tied for first place, Kang Ji-min took a birdie in the 15th hole (par-4) and held a triumphant note.

Luck came once again to the already victorious player on the last hole.

Kang went to the 18th hole tied for first with Lee, who had birdied the 17th hole (par-4). While Lee’s driver tee-shot shifted too much to the right and fell into the rough under a tree, Kang Ji-min gripped a three-wood and dropped the ball on the fairway.

The second shot that Lee pulled out with a lay-up once again fell on a rough to the left of the green but Kang easily succeed in a two-on. Lee’s third shot also missed the green and rolled to the apron, making a four-on, and Kang saved par with two putts. Lee made a double bogey.

While Lee, formerly one of the best players in Korea but now struggling in the US without proper sponsors, fell down before the threshold of victory due to consecutive misfortunes, Kang enjoyed her moment of victory,

Defending tournament champion Annika Sorenstam (Sweden), who was in the last group, tried to follow with consecutive birdies on the 16th and 17th holes despite suffering from a cold, but it was already too late.