Seventy-two holes was not enough to decide the BMW Ladies Championship. With a birdie on the third sudden-death playoff hole, KLPGA star and former LPGA Tour player Ha Na Jang beat Danielle Kang at LPGA International Busan and earned her fifth LPGA victory. Jang is the second non-Member winner of the 2019 season, joining AIG Women’s British Open winner Hinako Shibuno, and is now eligible to again accept LPGA Tour Membership.
“I played to the level of this game which is the best,” said Jang, who birdied No. 17 to tie with Kang at -19. “I’m also happy that I went into a playoff with one of my closest friends Danielle Kang.”
On the first playoff hole, both players missed the 18th green, with Kang going over the green and Jang leaving her approach short of the green. After two deft par saves, it was back to the 18th tee. Kang put her approach shot to 10 feet, but her birdie putt heartbreakingly hit the hole and lipped out.
“I will not play that putt any different,” said Kang, who was looking to win back-to-back events, joining last week’s Buick LPGA Shanghai. “That was such a good stroke. I thought it was in.”
On No. 10, the third playoff hole, Jang stuck her approach to 4 feet. After Kang’s 20-foot birdie putt missed to the right, Jang tapped in the winning putt 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.”
Both Jang and Kang played incredible golf in Sunday’s final round, shooting the two lowest rounds of the tournament. Kang shot the tournament’s low round with a bogey-free 8-under 64, while Jang eagled the par-5 11th in her round of 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 finished third at -16, followed by In Gee Chun and third-round co-leader Somi Lee in a tie for fifth at -12.