N. Kim takes Elleair Open; money title goes to Ahn

photo

Kim Na-ri

TOKYO – Kim Na-ri fired a closing 66 to claim a come-from-behind victory Sunday in the Daio Paper Elleair Ladies Open.

The Korean made eight birdies on the final day at the Elleair Golf Club, withstanding a late charge from Yukari Baba.

Completing a memorable day for the Korean contingent, Ahn Sun-ju finished in a share of 13th place to clinch the Japan LPGA Tour Money List title ahead of the Tour Championship, which starts Thursday.

With four wins and 132.82 million yen (about US$1.59 million) in earnings this season, Ahn is the first non-Japanese winner of the money title since Taiwan’s Tu Ai-yu in 1991.

Meanwhile, with her 54-hole total of 13-under 203, Kim finished one shot ahead of co-overnight leader Baba, who closed the gap with birdies at Nos. 17 and 18 en route to a 70.

Korean Jeon Mi-jeong claimed sole possession of third at 205, thanks to a final-round 69, while Ayako Uehara of Japan and Australian Tamie Durdin were a further stroke back in a share of fourth.

Miki Saiki, winner of last week’s Fujisankei Ladies Classic, shot 72 to drop into equal 20th place.

Kim came charging out of the blocks on Sunday with four birdies against one bogey to make the turn at 3-under 33. She picked up further shots at Nos. 10-11, but then wobbled with a bogey at the short No. 12. She extended her lead to two with a birdie at 14. Baba’s final-hole birdie halved the deficit, but it was too late to alter the tournament outcome.

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