TOKYO – Ahn Sun-ju outgunned fellow Korean Park Inbee Sunday to capture the 100 million yen (about US $1.15 million) Sankyo Ladies Open title in a playoff.
Ahn’s third victory of the season saw her extend her advantage at the top of the Japan LPGA Tour money list to more than 40 million yen.
Ahn survived a nervy finish when a three-stroke lead over Park disappeared with three holes remaining.
206 – Ahn Sun-ju (KOR)* 69-70-67; Park Inbee (KOR) 68-71-67
*Ahn won playoff at first extra hole
209 – Yukari Baba (JPN) 69-71-69
210 – Jeon Mi-jeong (KOR) 68-67-75
211 – Yuri Fudoh (JPN) 69-71-71
212 – Rui Kitada (JPN) 72-71-69
213 – Yuki Ichinose (JPN) 71-72-70; Shin Hyun-ju (KOR) 74-68-71; Chie Arimura (JPN) 69-72-72; Junko Omote (JPN) 71-70-72
214 – Miki Saiki (JPN) 73-74-67; Kaori Aoyama (JPN) 72-70-72
215 – Hwang Ah-reum (KOR) 70-73-72; Akane Iijima (JPN) 72-70-73; Mayu Hattori (JPN) 69-72-74
While Park made birdies at Nos. 16 and 18, Ahn suffered her only bogey of the day at the par-3 17th. They both signed for 5-under-par 67s and identical 54-hole totals of 10-under 206.
Ahn secured victory with a par at the first playoff hole – the par-5 18th – while Park, the 2008 U.S. Women’s Open champion, made bogey after finding a water hazard with her approach shot.
“I just tried to play my game and that led to the good result,” Ahn said. “I have to admit that I think about the money title, but I’ll try to keep my focus on playing well in the coming events.”
Ahn is attempting to become the first non-Japanese winner of the money list title since Taiwan’s Tu Ai-yu in 1991.
While Ahn and Park headed back to the course for the playoff, another Korean, Jeon Mi-jeong, was left to think what could have been.
Leading by four at the start of the final round, Jeon dropped to fourth after an error-strewn 75 that included six bogeys.
It was the second year in a row that Jeon lost the tournament from a winning position. Twelve months ago, she double bogeyed the final two holes and was beaten by Ai Miyazato of Japan, who is instead playing this week in the Navistar LPGA Classic.