Choi defends LPGA Hana Bank title in Korea

Na Yeon Choi, left, after winning the LPGA Hana Bank Championship in South Korea

INCHEON, South Korea – South Korea’s Na Yeon Choi successfully defended her title in the LPGA Hana Bank Championship, shooting a 3-under 69 on Sunday for a two-stroke victory over Vicky Hurst.

Choi finished at 10 under on Sky 72 Golf Club’s Ocean Course for her second LPGA Tour victory of the year and fourth in two years. She earned $270,000 to take the top spot on the money list with $1,742,028.

“I am really happy to defend my title,” said Choi, a playoff winner in July in the Jamie Farr Classic. “There were a lot of expectations from the fans that I have to defend my title. In order to live up to those expectations, I had to let everything out on the course and concentrate on every shot. That paid off.”

Hurst closed with a 70.

“I played very steady, and that was my goal,” Hurst said. “My mom told me to just be patient and stay calm, keep going, making pars and birdies. And I did that, so I’m pretty proud of myself. ... It was a great week.”

Second-round leader Song-Hee Kim (73) was third at 7 under.

“Even though I am best friends with Song-Hee, I can’t think about friendship on the course,” Choi said. “It’s all about competition on the course. I made my effort to focus on the game. If I thought about the friendship with Song-Hee, I could have not concentrated on my game the way I did.”

Kim has five runner-up finishes in her winless LPGA Tour career.

“I was a little bit disappointed by the result, but at the same time, I think I did my best,” Kim said.

U.S. Women’s Open champion Paula Creamer (67), second-ranked Jiyai Shin (69) and Suzann Pettersen (70) followed at 6 under.

Michelle Wie shot a 70 to tie for 12th at 3 under in a group that included top-ranked Cristie Kerr (71) and 50-year-old Juli Inkster (74).

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