South Korea’s Mirim Lee Wins Meijer LPGA Classic
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BELMONT, Mich. (AP) — Mirim Lee won the Meijer LPGA Classic on Sunday for her first LPGA Tour victory, beating fellow South Korean player Inbee Park with a birdie on the second hole of a playoff.
The long-hitting Lee drove into greenside bunker on the second extra hole — the short par-4 17th — and blasted out to 5 feet. After Park’s 15-foot birdie try lipped out, Lee holed her putt for the victory.
They each parred the 18th to open the playoff. Park’s approach shot hit the cup on the way past and she missed a 15-foot birdie try. Lee two-putted from 35 feet.
The 23-year-old Lee, a rookie on the LPGA Tour, closed with a 2-under 69 to match Park at 14-under 270. Park, a 10-time tour winner, finished with a 70.
Lee is projected to jump to 29th in the world ranking.
Norway’s Suzann Pettersen was a stroke back after a 69.
With three holes to play, Park, Pettersen and Lee were tied for the lead 14 under, but Pettersen had tree and sand troubles and made a bogey at 16 to fall a shot behind.
Park and Lee each missed birdie chances at the 17th. On the 18th, Lee two-putted for par from 40 feet, and Park made a 6-foot par putt.
Pettersen, who was playing in the group in front of Park for the day, birdied the first two holes and eagled the par-5 fifth — hitting a 3-wood shot to 6 feet — to tie Park at 15 under.
Lee birdied the par-5 11th to pull within a shot of Park.
After 10 consecutive pars, Park three-putted the par-3 14th for a bogey. It happened about the same time Pettersen was punching a shot from the trees to eight feet at 15 to set up a birdie and another tie.
Lee, trailing most of the day by a shot or two, then joined Park and Pettersen at 14 under with a 5-foot birdie putt at 15.
Japan’s Haru Nomura was fourth at 10-under after a 68. Germany’s Sandra Gal, the first-round leader, was another stroke back after a 66.
Top-ranked Stacy Lewis had her best round of the week with a 66 to tie for 11th at 6 under.
Thailand’s Thidapa Suwannapura matched the low round of the tournament with a 64, which included five birdies and an eagle at the par-4 10th. She tied for 18th at 4 under.
The tournament was the first LPGA Tour event in Michigan since 2000 when the Oldsmobile Classic in East Lansing ended its nine-year run.
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