Recharged Han wakes up to win delayed tourney

first_imgRANCHO PALOS VERDES — After a good night’s sleep, South Korea’s Hee-Won Han hit the golf course feeling recharged and aggressive. She opened with two consecutive birdies Monday en route to a 3-under 68 and a wire-to-wire, two-stroke victory in the 54-hole Office Depot Championship. “This morning, I felt pretty good,” she said. “I started birdie-birdie and that was good for me.” Han earned her fourth career LPGA title and first this year with a 201 total in the tour’s first non-playoff Monday finish since 1999. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 Han’s compatriot, Soo-Yun Kang, finished second with her second consecutive 5-under 66 for a 203 total. Scotland’s Catriona Matthew was third at 205 after a 3-under 68. Although they played in front of a sparse crowd Monday, Han, Kang and the other Koreans were very popular with the heavily Asian fan base in Los Angeles. “They gave me good support,” Kang said through her sister, who served as a translator. “I know some of them, so it was a great help.” Natalie Gulbis earned her sixth top-10 finish this year, shooting an even-par 71 to share fourth place with Karine Icher of France, who had 73 in the final round. Han played the final 10 holes under sunny skies Monday after the third round was suspended by darkness Sunday, when she was cold, tired and clinging to a one-shot lead through eight holes after bogeying No. 4. center_img Han started Monday with birdies on Nos. 9 and 10 to increase her lead. She also birdied the 496-yard 14th, the only par 5 on the back nine. She flirted with a bogey on the 17th, when her par putt rimmed the back of the cup before falling in, then parred the 18th. “It’s always nervous out there,” she said about her near-miss on 17. Two weeks ago, Han missed her second cut of the year at the Oklahoma stop. The tour took a week off, and she went home to San Diego, where her coach tinkered with her swing. The results were immediate. She arrived at Donald Trump’s lavish oceanfront course and shot a career-low 65 in the opening round. Han kept a share of the lead with a second-round 68, and had just three bogeys in the tournament. Han, who has eight top-10 finishes this year, earned $195,000 from the $1.3 million purse. “I hit the fairways and the greens, and I kept thinking that,” said Han, the 2001 LPGA rookie of the year. Kang sprayed a celebratory bottle of champagne on Han, who dashed away before getting soaked. The Seoul natives have known each other for 10 years. “We are all very close friends,” Kang said. “Last time when I won, they did that to me.” All 79 players who made the cut returned Monday to finish the event, being played for the first time at Trump National. Exceedingly slow play the first three days and a 3-hour delay because of dense fog Saturday plagued the tournament. The players also were cut off by darkness Saturday. British Open champion Jeong Jang, playing in the final threesome with Han, finished six strokes back after a 3-over 74. Two-time defending champion Annika Sorenstam never challenged, completing a 1-under 70 for a 209 total. “I finished with a birdie on 18, so I think I’ll leave this place with a smile,” she said. “This was the first time I played in the morning. The greens were in great shape. It’s too bad I only had four holes (left).” Rookie Paula Creamer shot her second straight 72 for 212. She was disqualified, however, for improperly changing clubs during the round. She removed a 5-iron from her bag Monday and replaced it with a 3-wood. Creamer realized her mistake after she finished and called tournament officials. She had to give up prize money of $11,859. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more