Ahn’s Stanley title marks Korean milestone

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Ahn Sun-ju of South Korea

SHIZUOKA, Japan – Ahn Sun-ju repelled the challenge of fellow-Korean Lee Ji-hee to claim victory in the Stanley Ladies tournament.

The 23-year-old Ahn, nicknamed “Big Mama,” prevailed at the second playoff hole over the 6,542-yard Toumei Country Club.

No matter who won between the two, the win would be significant for South Korea; Sunday’s win was the 100th for the country on the Japan LPGA tour.

Final leaderboard

1 Ahn Sun-Ju -6 F -3

Lee Ji-Hee -6 F -4

3 Lim Eun-A -5 F +2

Yukari Baba -5 F -2

Rui Kitada -5 F -1

6 Ji-Woo Lee -3 F -3

Ah-Reum Hwang -3 F +2

Maiko Wakabayashi -3 F -4

Shinobu Moromizato -3 F -1

10 Na-Ri Lee -2 F E

Erika Kikuchi -2 F E

Akane Iijima -2 F -1

Ahn fired a closing 69 and Lee a bogey-free 68, as the Koreans compiled 54-hole totals of 6-under 210.

Ahn had appeared set to clinch the victory in regulation but dropped a shot at the par-5 18th to fall into a tie with Lee. But she recovered to hole a birdie putt at the second playoff hole to beat Lee.

Ahn also defeated world No. 2 Ai Miyazato in the season-opening Daikin Orchid Ladies Tournament.

One shot behind the leaders in a share of third place were overnight leader Lim Eun-a, Yukari Baba and Rui Kitada.

Korean Lim seemed in control as she reached the turn at 1 under without dropping a shot. But then the wheels came off as she bogeyed four of the first five holes on the back nine, leaving herself too much ground to make up.

Struggling to shrug off the effects of her long trip back from Oakmont at last week’s U.S. Women’s Open where she tied for 28th, defending champion Chie Arimura finished in a seven-way tie for 20th place at 217 this week.

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