The top of the leaderboard took on an international flair today as two Korean players and a Swede battled it out for the lead. It was a back-and-forth day for Jimin Kang and Meena Lee with both ladies struggling to control the scoreboard.
Kang (66) and Lee (67) were tied for the lead when they hit their tee shots at the 18th hole. Even the hole-in-one that Kang shot at the par-3 15th came after a disappointing bogey one hole earlier. Right after that exciting ace, Kang followed up with a birdie to give her a one-shot lead over Lee. A final pressure-packed double bogey for Lee sealed the deal and delivered Kang her victory.
Jimin Kang walked off with the Steuben glass bowl and a check for $165,000 while the rookie tied for second with defending champion Annika Sorenstam (69) who sniffled her way through the tournament.
Even with a bad cold Sorenstam came through with a second place finish. It was a long round for Annika who started her day with a bogey and followed with two more on the front nine. She rebounded with birdies on the two par-5’s scoring six birdies throughout her day with three of those birdies on the back nine.
Moira Dunn (68) Hee-Won Han (72) finished in a tie for fourth place. Dunn carded three birdies on the front nine and three on the final nine had a much more rewarding day than Han who started off her day with three birdies but followed up with bogeys on 9, 13 and 18 to have an even final round.
International tour player Karine Icher had her share of troubles today. Although starting off strong with birdies on 2,4 and 5, she fell apart on her back nine. A double bogey at the 11th dropped her into a tie with Lee. Icher rebounded with a birdie on the 12th only to make another double bogey at the 13th after a bad drive and an even worse chip shot. Another bad drive and a ricochet off the tree trunk gave Icher more bad news with her third double bogey in nine holes. Icher then bogeyed the 17th hole and made par on the 18th to finish with a 41 on her back nine holes.
Veteran Rosie Jones (68) started her round with a bogey but that was the last bogey she would score for the day. Jones followed with five birdies, one of them on the 18th, in a round which might be her final competitive round at the Corning Classic if she retires as planned at the end of the season. Jones refuses to retire before she either plays in one more Solheim Cup or at least assists co-captain Nancy Lopez in September against the international contingency.
Natalie Gulbis also finished with a birdie on the 18th and had back-to-back birdies on the 4th and 5th holes as well as on the 10th and 12th holes. Gulbis tied for 12th today with first round co-leader Sherri Turner (69) and Dorothy Delasin (71).
A total of four aces were made this week for a new tournament record!
Pos Player Today Tot R1 R2 R3 R4 1 Jimin Kang -6 -15 69 70 68 66 T2 Meena Lee -5 -13 69 71 68 67 T2 Annika Sorenstam -3 -13 69 68 69 69 T4 Moira Dunn -4 -11 70 68 71 68 T4 Hee-Won Han E -11 74 69 62 72 T6 Liselotte Neumann -4 -10 72 69 69 68 T6 Sung Ah Yim -3 -10 70 69 70 69 T6 Karine Icher +2 -10 70 66 68 74 T9 Sophie Gustafson -4 -9 66 73 72 68 T9 Rosie Jones -4 -9 71 71 69 68 T9 Michelle Ellis -3 -9 71 72 67 69