Misun Cho Wins the 2012 Challenge at Musket Ridge
Coming off a career-best day in the second round of the Challenge at Musket Ridge, Misun Cho knew it would be hard to replicate her brilliant play on Sunday. The South Korean did not match her 64 in the final round, but battled off a weather delay and a charge from third-year pro Sarah Brown for her third-career Symetra Tour victory. Cho shot an even-par 72 with only one birdie coming on the par 3 second hole to clinch the win.
Cho had an average start to the day with one birdie and one bogey on the first nine holes and started to feel a little bit of pressure about midway through the round.
"When Sarah had her round going, I felt it a little bit," said Cho. "But I couldn't do much if other players were doing well."
Brown had a strong front nine with four birdies and made the turn at 12-under for the tournament and held a one-shot lead over Cho. But a 46 minute weather delay seemed to make the difference in letting Cho collect herself and prepare for a battle on the back nine.
"I think in a way it kind of helped," said Cho of the break in play. "Jenny (Suh) and Sarah both started really well. But Sarah still made birdie on No. 10 and 11. I think it made me step back a little bit to calm myself down."
Brown came out of the suspension firing and carded back-to-back birdies to go 14-under through 11 and pushed the lead to three. But a bogey on 12 and a double on 13 set her square with Cho heading into the final five holes.
"I did feel like I needed to make birdies on the back nine which didn't happen but I did make good up and downs," said Cho. "My chance came when Sarah made double and a bogey."
With both players carding pars on holes 14-17, it came down to the final hole. Cho and Brown both hit their approach shots short of the green and took turns chipping to set them up for what they knew would be critical putts. Cho left herself with a seven footer and Brown chipped out from 60 feet and left hers 11 feet short of the hole.
With Brown's miss, Cho took a solid stroke to the 7-foot putt and drained it for her third-career victory and first since 2009. Cho earned exempt LPGA Tour membership that season after finishing third on the money list. She has since struggled with health issues and is working to getting back to where she was two years ago.
"It's definitely a confidence booster," said Cho of her third win. "I always knew I had it in me. It was just getting everything together at once."
When asked what her immediate thoughts were when the final putt dropped, Cho explained in three simple words.
"I did it!"