SINGAPORE – One is a teenage golfer in only her second professional season. The other is a 12-year veteran on the women’s LPGA golf circuit.Nineteen-year-old Jenny Shin of South Korea and 34-year-old American Angela Stanford battled through four rounds, three extra play-off holes and a 11/2- hour rain delay at the HSBC Women’s Champions tournament yesterday.
And it was a teary Stanford who prevailed at the riveting finale in Tanah Merah Country Club, making par on the third sudden-death play-off round on the 18th hole to clinch the winner’s trophy and US$210,000 (S$263,000) in prize money.”I still feel like I’m dreaming, I haven’t fully processed (the victory) yet,” said the Texan.
“It kind of hit me when I was doing the TV interview right after the last hole, thinking about how cool it is to be the first American to win this title. It’s pretty special.”There was more than one time during the day when I thought I was done. But my caddie told me to keep grinding out the pars, to stay in touch with the leaders, and I guess it worked this time.”Stanford had finished on 10- under-par 278 with Jenny Shin and two other golfers, South Korean world No.2 Choi Na Yeon and China’s Feng Shanshan.
Feng was eliminated on the first play-off hole, with Choi following suit in the second, leaving Stanford and Jenny Shin as the last two standing – just as it was after 71 holes before rain paused play on the duo’s final hole in regulation.Stanford, who earned $210,000 for the victory, trailed Jenny Shin by a shot after the 17th when play was delayed about 90 minutes because of lightning. When play resumed, Jenny Shin hit her tee shot out of bounds, leading to a double bogey. Stanford bogeyed No. 18 to fall into a four-way tie at 10-under 278.
“I felt for her (Jenny Shin ) because we’ve all been in that position,” said Stanford, who shot a 1-under 71 in the final round. “I didn’t think I’d be there at the end. I was all over the map today.”The 19-year-old Jenny Shin turned professional in 2010 and has competed in 18 LPGA tournaments. She said her inexperience may have led to jitters at the 18th.”The tee shot on the 18th hole really threw me off,” Jenny Shin said. “The playoff wasn’t that bad. I wasn’t as nervous as I was on the 18th.”
Top-ranked Yani Tseng finished fifth, one shot behind after 72 holes. Michelle Wie had another disappointing round with a 75 and trailed the leaders by 32 shots. Wie finished next to last, ahead of only Singapore amateur Sock Hwee Koh.Tseng began the third round at 1 under. But a 5-under 67 on Saturday and a 4-under 32 on the first nine holes Sunday put her in a brief tie for the lead with Jenny Shin . A double bogey on 10 and another bogey on 14 pushed her back down the leaderboard.