Ha Na Jang Wins ISPS Handa Australian Open On Eagle Birdie Finish
by Andrew Spence
A BRILLIANT Eagle-Birdie finish has handed South Korea’s Ha Na Jang the ISPS Handa Australian Open Title in Adelaide, South Australia.
Jang started the day four shots off the pace at -6 but rolled in an eagle and three birdies in her final six holes to finish on 10-under from Danish qualifier Nanna Madsen.
Four players tied for third on -6 at the Royal Adelaide Golf Club including World No.2 Ariya Jutanugarn and defending champion Haru Nomura from Japan.
Aussies Minjee Lee and Sarah Jane Smith were the best of the Aussies also finishing at six-under.
Overnight leader Lizette Salas shot a 5-over 78 to finish in a tie for 7th.
Going into the tournament ranked No.6 in the world, Jang started her final round with a bogey on the first hole before playing the back nine in 31, 5-under par, sinking a four-foot birdie putt on the 18th to seal the win.
The 24-year-old said her target at the start of the round was to finish on 10-under.
“After birdies on 13 and 14 I started thinking ‘I can do it’ and on hole number 17 I tried just to think about the speed on the eagle putt and (when it went in) then the nerves were gone, the pressure was gone.
“So it was very exciting today – it feels amazing.”
Jang was given the opportunity to pat a koala and a joey kangaroo during the trophy presentation, where she collected the Patricia Bridges Bowl, adding to the Aussie flavour of the event.
“I love Australia because the food is good, the people are really kind, I love the golf courses and the weather is so good.
“See you next year.”
Another South Korean, Hye Jin Choi, finished in a tie for 7th at 5-under to win the Silver Salver for the low amateur.
It capped off a successful Australian summer for Choi, who also won the Australian Amateur title and finished second in the New South Wales Amateur.
More than 30,000 spectators flocked to Royal Adelaide for the event, with players from around the world praising the immaculate condition and challenging layout of the course, despite winds of up to 50km/h making scoring difficult on the final two days.
The LPGA tour heads to Asia next week for the Honda LPGA Thailand at Siam Country Club followed by the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore from March 2-5.