With a birdie on the third sudden-death playoff hole, former LPGA Tour star Ha Na Jang edged Danielle Kang at LPGA International Busan to win the BMW Ladies Championship and earn her fifth career LPGA victory.
Jang, who forfeited her LPGA membership in 2017 to care for her family in Korea, is the second non-Member winner of the 2019 season, joining AIG Women’s British Open winner Hinako Shibuno.
“I played to the level of this game which is the best,” said Jang, who birdied No. 17 to tie with Kang at 19-under. “I’m also happy that I went into a playoff with one of my closest friends Danielle Kang.”
On the first two overtime holes (No. 18), both players posted par – although, Kang nearly won it on the second OT hole but lipped out.
Playing No. 10 for the third hole of overtime, Jang stuck her approach to four feet, and after Kang’s 20-foot birdie putt missed, the South Korean native tapped in and immediately raised her arms to the sky in victory.
“I knew I had to make it. I read the line the way I wanted to read it and hit the speed I wanted to hit and I stroked it, and if it goes in, it goes in and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t,” said Kang of her putt. “I’m not going to do anything different just to force a birdie. But no matter what, I have a birdie putt, I always want to make it. It just snapped and I didn’t see that much of a break coming in but I think I was more cautious about the speed just in case.”
Kang, who now has a win and runner-up in her last two starts, shot the day’s low round with a bogey-free 8-under 64, while Jang carded a 65.
“After the 11th hole, I kind of felt that I could really win this event,” said Jang, who trailed Kang by as many as three strokes on Sunday. “I eagle-putted that hole and I knew that I could turn things around to my advantage, so that’s when I really felt like I could win.”
Amy Yang (67) finished solo third on 16-under par, four clear of In Gee Chun (70) and Somi Lee (73) who finished T5 on 12-under par.
Final Scores: Top 5
Pos-Player-To Par (Final Rd)
1. Ha Na Jang -19 (-7)
2. Danielle Kang -19 (-8)
3. Amy Yang -16 (-5)
3. In Gee Chun -12 (-2)
5. Somi Lee -12 (+1)
Jang’s Winning Stats
Driving: 283.1 yards
Fairways: 44/56, 78.6%
Greens: 60/72, 83.3%
Scores: 1 Eagle, 21 Birdies, 46 Pars, 4 Bogeys
Returning to the LPGA
“As for going back to the LPGA, there’s a lot to discuss. My mother is not quite well yet. I think I would have an answer for you regarding returning to the LPGA later on. I can’t say right now.”
– Ha Na Jang, on accepting 2020 LPGA Membership
Credit: LPGA, Getty Images