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Cho secures her first season title at KLPGA

Nov 14,2016
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Cho Yoon-ji watches her shot during the final round of the ADT CAPS Championship on Sunday. Cho topped the tournament 11-under 205 to win her third career title. [KLPGA]
Cho Yoon-ji, a Korean professional golfer in her eighth year at the KLPGA, claimed her first season title on Sunday at the ADT CAPS Championship 2016.

During the final round of the ADT CAPS Championship, the final championship of the season, which took place on Sunday at the South Spring Country Club in Incheon, Cho shot 4-under to wrap up the entire event 11-under 205.

Cho, an overnight leader who was ahead by two shots after the second round on Saturday, started out the day strong on Sunday, carding three straight birdies from the first to third hole. Although she hit a brief bump at the seventh where she took a bogey, the win from the championship looked guaranteed for the golfer.

Even at the 15th, when her ball trickled into a hazard, she still managed to remain at the top, nabbing a par despite the difficulty. She then almost recorded an eagle on the next hole, but settled for a birdie instead. But others steadily narrowed the gap between them and the leader, and by the latter half of the day, Cho was ahead only by one shot.

At the final hole, Cho’s tee shot fell into a bunker, which allowed one of the runners-up, Lee Min-young, who was tied at second then, to catch up. But fortunately, Cho’s second shot fell through and found the green while Lee’s approach shot landed just outside the green. Cho’s birdie putt, a long way from home, came up short of the pin, still leaving a slim chance for Lee to tie the match and force the tourney into a playoff. Lee would still be able to take a crack at the title if she nailed a birdie approach. Instead of a wedge, she chose a putter and took a shot beyond the green but eventually failed to tally a birdie, giving Cho a clear line of sight between herself and the trophy.

Cho capitalized on the chance by sinking in the par putt to finish the competition at the top of the leaderboard, marking her third career win.

During the Winner’s Interview after the tournament, Cho said, “I didn’t even think of winning the title. But I do have some good memories from this course so I decided to go at it lighthearted.”

During the 2015 E1 Charity Open played on the same course as the ADT CAPS Championships, Cho tallied eight birdies in a row from the first to the eighth hole of the third round.

“I got nervous stating at the 15th hole [of the final round] when the ball fell into the hazard,” Cho said. “I may not have shown it but I was really on edge. But I am glad to conclude the event with good results.”

Also at this year’s KLPGA, Ko Jin-young claimed the Player of the Year award, accumulating a total of 562 KLPGA points, one point ahead of the runner-up, Park Sung-hyun. Park, who ended her season at the KLPGA early to prepare herself for the U.S.-based LPGA tour next year, still managed to claim several honors, topping the Official Money rankings as well as the Scoring Average and taking the most number of wins this season. Lee Jeong-eun captured the Rookie of the Year award with a total of 1997 Rookie Point from this year’s KLPGA.

BY CHOI HYUNG-JO [choi.hyungjo@joongang.co.kr]