Great start gives Hwang Women’s Championship

WINNER. Hwang Min-Jeong, who is only 17, celebrates after winning the Women’s Open Champion-ships. (Contributed photo)

HWANG Min-Jeong stayed true to her vow, winning The Women’s Championship at Summit Point crown by one over Chihiro Ikeda as the Korean prevailed in a duel of faltering finishes with a 71 at the Summit Point Golf and Country Club on Aug. 23, 2019.

Hwang, 17, birdied three of the first four holes to break off a tie with Thai Nemittra Juntanaket then watched Ikeda’s blistering rally in a flight ahead fizzle out to clinch the victory, her second in a young pro career she launched in winning fashion at Splendido last January.

“This championship means so much to me, I gained so much confidence from this win,” said Hwang, who had hinted at getting the trophy after shooting a 69 and forcing a tie with Juntanaket after 36 holes Thursday. The 2018 Philippine Amateur Open winner assembled a 54-hole total of eight-under 208 worth P150,000.

“But one thing I learned this week is that you have no time to relax till the last hole. The Thai (Juntanaket) is really good and when I saw on the boards that Ikeda was making a rally, I got nervous. I thought I lost it or I would go to a playoff after holing out with a bogey. I’m so glad to win it all,” said Hwang, who also credited her father-caddie-driver Hwang Byung Sug’s role for her victory.

Ikeda nearly spoiled Hwang’s bid as the Fil-Japanese rallied from four down on a stirring three-birdie binge from No. 12, the last netting her a two-shot swing after Hwang bogeyed No. 14 to force a tie at nine-under overall. But the Midlands playoff winner last July bogeyed No. 15 to fall behind again and holed out with another bogey on the 18th in her desperate bid to land a birdie and force a playoff.

She finished with a 69 for second at 209 and received P90,000 while Juntanaket kissed her bid for a second straight Ladies Philippine Golf Tour title goodbye after ruling the ICTSI Mount Malarayat Classic last week with bogeys on Nos. 15 and 16 for a 73.

“I gave it my best shot but I came up short,” said the multi-titled Ikeda while stressing the need to work and train hard to achieve another championship.

Tiranan Yoopan pulled to within two with back-to-back birdies from No. 12 but the comely Thai campaigner failed to ride the pressure in the featured flight and bogeyed the par-3 17th. (PR)


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