Posted November. 03, 2008 09:28,
Though the title went to a foreigner, Korean female golfers once again demonstrated their prowess at the Hana Bank-Kolon Championship yesterday in Incheon.
Around 1,000 fans tagged along Pak Se-ri and Kim Mi-hyun, showing the huge popularity of the players in Korea. Though both have failed to win a tournament due to a prolonged slump and injuries, their being on the same team and reputation drew huge attention from domestic golf fans.
Sharing 17th place (even par) with Shin Ji-ae in the face of strong winds, Pak said, I was very surprised to see so many people coming to watch. I was swelling with pride because they show Korean golfs high standard and strong base.
Paula Creamer, a four-time LPGA event winner this year, was also on the same team with Pak and Kim. She said like in a final round of a U.S. LPGA event, the audiences response was enthusiastic.
Kim, who got a boost after her fiancé - Olympic judo gold medalist Lee Won-hee - popped the question, finished 13th (one under par) despite strong winds and a fairway with little run.
Along with Pak and Kim, up-and-coming Korean stars Han Hee-won and Jang Jeong competed. With support from her father, a former baseball player, her husband and father-in-law, Han led the round but had to settle for third (four under par) due to lack of stamina.
Nicknamed Ultra Peanut and winning the Womens British Open in 2005, Jang shared third place with Lee Ji-young, who advanced to the U.S. LPGA through the Hana Bank-Kolon Championship in 2005.
Candie Kung of Taiwan won the championship at six-under after achieving a hole-out eagle on the par-five ninth. Her first title in five years and fourth career LPGA Tour win came along with a cash prize of 240,000 dollars.
Korean women golfers have won seven titles this season and had won this tournament from 2002 to 2006. Suzann Pettersen of Norway won last years title.