Weekly roundup from around the world of women's golf.
Every week I start the round ups by saying "wow! what a week, I did not think things could get better than the last. However, this week had everything.... the peoples champion ending her drought in dramatic style, a highly popular English winner on the LET and a first time winner in South Africa who is the perfect role model for younger golfers. Not to mention a dramatic Spanish Amateur Championship. Check out your round up from around the world of Women's golf below.
LPGA- HSBC Women's World Championship, Singapore
What a final day that was! The back 9 holes had everyone on the edge of their seats and glued to their TV screens. When Jenny Shin missed a par putt on the last it put 4 players level on -16 with 3 players still to play the last. In the penultimate group Minjee Lee stiffed her approach to 5 feet and Wie left her's short of the green. everybody expected Minjee to hole out joining a potential playoff at -16. However, golf is never scripted like that and in amazing fashion Wie drained her 36 ft putt moving to -17 and a 1 shot lead.
Nelly Korda and Danielle Kang in the final group could still make a birdie to tie Wie but Korda missed her 10 footer for birdie and Kang hit her 2nd too far past the pin for any chance of birdie to give Michelle Wie her first victory since her US Open win in 2014 (1365 days to be exact).
Wie now 26 called her winning putt the best putt of her career. “I'm so proud of me and my caddie and my entire team, It's been a long time since I've been up here, so it feels pretty good. It feels great.”
Nelly Korda led going into the final round, she was looking to emulate sister Jessica who won last week on the LPGA Tour in Thailand. However, she could only manage a -1 round of 71 to come up one short. “I definitely fought till the end. That's definitely 100 percent true,” said Korda. “But I mean, sometimes it just doesn't work out, but I'm proud of myself for fighting till the end.” Nelly, who is 19 (one of 10 to watch in 2018) looks like being one of the starts of the LPGA Tour for the next few years after her 2nd top 10 finish of the season. Just one year older than Nelly is Canadian Brooke Henderson who birdied the last to also finish 1 back. Her 3rd top 10 in 4 starts this season.
The leader after 2 rounds and another player that finished 1 back from from Wie was fellow American Danielle Kang. Danielle, who had an interesting start to her week as she broke a tooth while stretching prior to her first round round. She called a dentist to the driving range and was fine throughout the rest of the day and tournament. Danielle who did a lot of work in the gym in the off season says that the hard work is starting to pay off “Before I even started this season, that I worked harder than I ever worked during the off-season. I've put on muscle, I've put on weight and I'm hitting it further, and I'm definitely feeling that my game is there and I trust my game more,” Kang, who captured her first win on the LPGA Tour last year went 50 holes without a drop shot.
Another player to make an impact this week was Thai amateur Atthaya Thitikul who earned her place at the Tournament by winning the Women's Asia Pacific Amateur Championship last week on the same course. She will also be appearing at the ANA Invitational and the British Open as a result of her victory. The bookies obviously don't know how good she is as her odds were 500/1 pre tournament. She showed her quality and the 15 year old Tied 8th on -13 finishing higher than both the Jutanugarn sisters.
Rolex World Ranking of the Winner: Michelle Wie 26th
Next Event: March 15th, Bank of Hope Founders CupPhoenix, AZ, USA
LET/ ALPG- Women's NSW Open, Coffs Harbour Golf Club, Australia
England's Meghan MacLaren claimed her maiden LET victory winning the NSW Open by 2 shots. In our preview we touched on the fact that more had been expected this year of MacLaren, so far this season she has failed to meet the expectations after she won the LET Access OofM last year. However, the big Newcastle United fan showed her class and held onto her overnight lead to beat American Casey Danielson, Spaniard Silvia Banon and Marita Engzelius from Norway into 2nd place.
Maclaren's dad had made the long journey from England to carry her bag this weekend and she was thankful, “He was helpful in that he didn’t say anything the whole way around! No, it was great to have him there, just to keep me calm and make sure I didn’t get ahead of myself. He deserves a lie down,” she smiled. “He kept me talking about stuff that wasn’t related to my round, which was good, because I could have been a bit edgy otherwise.”
After her victory Megan said “It feels incredible. I didn’t think those words would be coming out of my mouth so soon!” she now moves to 7th on the OofM while Celine Boutier of France hangs onto 1st place.
Danielson who was our tip this week definitely looks like a player to watch. She made 16 birdies this week and seems to be producing better golf every week. She has had a few good finishes in the Australia stretch of the LET season after winning the Q school final at the end of last season in Morocco.
Megan's closest challenger at the beginning of play way Marita Engzelius. She may be an LET rookie playing in her 2nd event but she has plenty of experience. She played on the LPGA in 2013 and following that played for four years on the Symetra Tour, where she won the 2014 Symetra Tour Championship.
Also in 2nd was Silvia Banon of Spain. This was her career best finish and she was in contention all week after leading after round 1. Banon, 25 from Alicante said after the round " This was an excellent end to my time in Australia and in the . I am so happy and I am looking forward to the next tournament already."
On the LET Tournament this year their seems to be a large batch of fearless young golfers who are really shaking things up with the more experienced pros leading to a higher standard of golf. Don't be surprised to see more first time winners before the season is out.
Rolex World Ranking of the Winner: Meghan Maclaren 287th
Next Event: March 8th , Investec SA Women's Open, Westlake Golf Club, South Africa
Sunshine Ladies Tour- 28/02/18. Supersport Ladies Challenge, Wild Coast Sun Country Club
The Sunshine Ladies Tour has now produced six different winners in all six tournaments this season after Nobuhle Dlamini from Swaziland claimed her first maiden victory at the Supersport Ladies challenge moving to 2nd place in the OofM. She also becomes the 2nd consecutive first-time winner after Laura Fuenfstueck victory last weekend.
Nobuhle had a 3 shot lead coming down the last, she used every shot as she double bogeyed for a 1 shot victory. However, she really won the tournament after shooting an opening round 64 (-6) even with a triple bogey on the par 3 6th. After her win she said "this means a lot to me, i'm already looking forward to many many more victories ". I won a lot as an amateur, but it had been too long since my last win so I needed to win to know I could still do it. It’s the beginning of a good journey for me. I hope it will open many doors in terms of sponsorships and getting into other bigger tournaments.”
Lora Assad of South Africa was 2nd and she now moves to 8th place on the OofM.
Next Event: March 8th , Investec SA Women's Open, Westlake Golf Club, South Africa
Rolex World Ranking of the Winner: Nobuhle Dlamini 1193rd
Japan LPGA- Daikin Orchid Ladies' Golf Tournament, Ryukyu Golf Club (Okinawa)
Home favorite Ai Suzuki could not hold onto her overnight lead as South Korean Lee Min Young fired a final round 66 to win by 2 shots and claim victory in the first tournament of the season on the Japan LPGA. Suzuki had a poor round of +1 round to slip back into T3rd. After her victory she said "I am extremely happy, I never thought of being able to win, I feel that my golf improved every day." The South Korean put her victory down to hard work in the off season which involved a 5 week training camp in Palm Springs in America. The 27 year old only had 25 putts in the final round to bring home the victory and the $153,252 winners cheque.
Next Event: March 9th, Yokohama tire golf tournament PRGR ladies' cup, Tosa Country Club (Kochi)
Rolex World Ranking of the Winner: Min Young Lee 39th
Spanish Ladies Amateur- Barceló Montecastillo Golf, Jerez de la Frontera
A weather interrupted event saw the stroke play format reduced to one round. The top 36 players went forward to the match play stage which was also heavily affected by the weather with matches of 9 and 12 holes being played.
The final 4 who made the semi finals were Frida Kinhult of Sweden, Italian Alessia Nobilio, Romy Meekers from the Netherlands and Spaniard Natalia Aseguinolaza Martin.
In last years final Frida Kinhult defeated Alessia Meekers on the 19th hole, this year they met in the semi final which saw the same outcome as Frida won 1 up. in the final she met the Spaniard Aseguinolaza Martin who defeated Romy 1up in their semi final.
In the final it was the defending champion Frida Kinhult who regained her crown defeating the home favorite Natalia 2up. Everyone will be hoping that the upcoming French Amateur Championship will be more fortunate with the weather but with no less drama.
South American Girls Under 18- Colombia
There was only one winner here where Maria Jose Bohorquez (below) ran away with the tournament. The Colombian led from start to finish and eventually won by 10 shots. Maria from Bogota finished 6th earlier in the year at the Anika invitational in Argentina. She will be worth keeping an eye on as a potential star of the future. Girls golf in South America is growing very quickly and they are sure to produce a number of future champions. Colombia went on to win the team competition as well
LPGA- Minjee Lee (6th)
LET/ ALPG, Australia- Casey Danielson (2nd)