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The Agony of Defeat

Posted May. 15, 2007 07:58,   


Lee Jee-young, who is normally all smiles, cried so much that her eyes were swollen from tears after letting victory slip from her grasp in the final round of the U.S. LPGA Tour Michelob Open on May 14 at Kingsmill Golf Club (Par 71) in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Lee (Hi Mart) began the day with a two-stroke lead, but added a stroke to finish tied with Suzann Pettersen (Norway) at 10-under par 274. She went on to play a sudden-death playoff with Pettersen, and surrendered her victory after three holes.

It was a close match, making the loss even more disappointing. At the third round of the playoff on the 18th hole (Par4), Lee Jee-young landed her ball 3.6m away from the hole, while Pettersen’s second shot landed on the fringe of the green, at a 7m distance. Lee’s win appeared to be right before her eyes.

Pettersen’s birdie putting brushed past the cup and stopped at a point 30cm away. Lee attempted a birdie for victory, but the ball rolled beyond the hole stopping 70cm away from the cup. Out of disappointment, she hurriedly putted for par without marking, and this shot also missed the cup. Lee Jee-young had to submit to the result of an absurd three-bogey putt, while Pettersen succeeded in putting to save par, holding up a clenched fist in victory.

In February at the Fields Open, when Lee Jee-young was runner-up by one stroke, she smiled saying, “I’m satisfied because I still have a higher place to head for.” But on this day, she poured out tears, arousing the sympathy of those around her. Sarah Lee, who finished in third place (7 under-par 277 shots) waited near the green with two beer bottles in order to congratulate Lee Jee-young, but these bottles were not opened.

Seon-hwa Lee and Se-ri Pak (both CJ) finished the competition tied for 10th place (3 under-par 281 shots).