SWING YOUR SWORD
Ha Na Jang spun her putter like a samurai sword then threw in one of her patented fist pumps when the final putt dropped. It was exactly the type of celebration you’d expect from a player who has become famous for the joy and glee she both plays and subsequently celebrates with.
And if there was a better one than that one, Lydia Ko sure doesn’t remember it her brief 18 years.
“Yeah, I’ve never seen that before. I don’t know how anyone can beat that. It was almost kind of like James Hahn’s Gangnam Style a few years ago,” Ko said. “But no, that’s a pretty cool ceremony. I don’t know who would think of that. But yeah, obviously she loves doing it to celebrate, and you can see by her fist pumps during the round, too.”
Jang said she first pulled out that celebration two weeks ago here at Golden Ocala when she came to play a practice round. She did it that time with her driver though after a drive in the practice round and her playing partners were adamant that she had to break that out in an LPGA event at some point, which she saved for exactly the right time.
“I tried on No. 12 on the tee, and after the shot, and I tried like this, and some people were like people is like, ‘You’re really funny, your swing!’” Jang recalled. “Okay, I’ll try it at Ocala in tournament, so it’s no problem, yeah.”
UP AND DOWN DAY FOR LYDIA KO
Lydia Ko entered the final round of the Coates Golf Championship Presented by R+L Carriers tied for the lead and poised to hunt down her 11th LPGA victory but an uncharacteristic 3-over, 39, on her opening nine saw her fall off the pace of Ha Na Jang.
“I feel like during the middle of today’s round I didn’t hit the ball very well,” Ko said. “Overall I’ve been striking the ball really good even in the rain today, so that’s a positive, and I feel like I’m stroking the ball well with the putter. Not many dropped, but that’s another thing.”
Despite her early struggles, Ko rallied and found herself in the mix heading down the stretch thanks to birdies on 15, 16 and 17.
“To be honest I thought I was completely out of it, but it was that kind of a day where not a lot of things were going right,” Ko said. “But no, the last few holes I hung in there and made some good birdies, and I’m pretty pleased with the way I finished. I know that it could have gone much worse. Obviously it could have been much better. But hey, Ha Na played well all week, and yeah, there’s still a lot of positives to take from this week, and I’m looking forward to going and playing in New Zealand next week.”
Ko will now fly Down Under for a stretch where she will defend titles at the New Zealand Open on the LET and the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open on the LPGA.
BROOKE HENDERSON RALLIES TO FINISH SECOND
After a long day that saw her complete 27 holes, Brooke Henderson climbed from a tie for 10th into second at the Coates Golf Championship Presented by R+L Carriers.
“Well, starting the day, if I would have finished second, I would have been very happy,” Henderson said. “I had a great round this morning on my back nine, 5-under, and finished off with an eagle, so it was definitely good momentum going into the final round, and I had it going. I was 2-under for the day at one point, and it was feeling pretty good.”
Unfortunately for Henderson, she wasn’t able to seal the deal for her second win on the LPGA Tour as Ha Na Jang closed strong to win by two.
“I don’t know her very well, but I’m happy for her to win out here,” Henderson said. “Like I said, she played great right from the start. She was leading the first day and was able to finish it off.”