Lu holds off Choi for Mizuno win
Sunday, November 10, 2013
SHIMA, Japan – Taiwan's Teresa Lu won the Mizuno Classic on Sunday, birdieing the last two holes and six of the final eight for a two-stroke victory.
The 25-year-old Lu, a regular on the Japan LPGA Tour after giving up her LPGA Tour membership in 2010, shot an 8-under 64 in windy, wet conditions at Kintetsu Kashikojima. She finished at 14-under 202 and earned $180,000 for her first professional title.
"I've been waiting for this day for so long," Lu said. "This is my first win. It's been eight years on tour. I'm really happy. Really nervous and really happy.
She made a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-4 18th.
"I knew I have to go lower and get more birdies otherwise I was going to get in a playoff," Lu said. "It's better not a playoff. So I focus on the birdie."
She has three runner-up finishes and 13 top-10s this season on the JLPGA.
"Beginning of this year, I got into two playoffs and in both of them, I lose," Lu said. "I guess I really learned from that and just tried to be calm."
South Korea's Chella Choi, tied with Lu with two holes to play, had a 66 to finish second.
"I think I had very good confidence today," said Choi. "I just think, 'OL, one putt, just one stroke.' So I think birdie and focus. I don't know why, not nervous. I think good experience for me. ... It's OK, though, because I played well today. Disappointed, but satisfied."
Japanese players took the next five spots. Mamiko Higa and Yuki Ichinose shot 70 to tie for third at 10 under, Yumiko Yoshida (68) and Shiho Oyama (71) followed at 9 under, and Asako Fujimoto (71) was 8 under.
Stacy Lewis, the 2012 winner, tied for eighth at 7 under after a 70. The American was the top-ranked player in the field at No. 3.
"It's really hard out there," Lewis said. "I could have made some putts earlier I just couldn't seem to make any putts. But to shoot 2 under in this wind is a good score. It's pretty crazy what those two are doing today."
American Brittany Lincicome, a stroke behind second-round leaders Higa, Ichinose and Oyama entering the day, had a 77 to tie for 29th at 2 under.
Lu became the second Taiwanese winner in tournament. Ai-Yu Tu won in 1986 when the event was called the Mazda Japan Classic.
Lu was asked if she planned to return to the LPGA Tour next season.
"Probably, probably," she said. "It's big!"
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