WASHINGTON (AFP): Hsu Wei-Ling rode an eagle at the 15th hole to an emotional two-stroke victory in the Pure Silk Championship on Sunday, capturing a long-awaited first LPGA title.
|Taiwan's Hsu Wei-Ling on the way to her first LPGA tour victory at the Pure Silk Championship - AFP
“I thought I wouldn’t cry,” said the 26-year-old, who indeed broke down in tears after a two-putt par at the final hole to seal the win.
But the emotion had been building since her eagle at the par-five 15th, where her second shot kicked onto the green and she made the putt and suddenly find herself with a two-shot lead.
Playing partner Moriya Jutanugarn – who started the day tied with Hsu for the lead – had arrived at 15 with a two-stroke lead, but the Thai found a fairway bunker with her second shot and ended up with a double bogey at the easiest hole on the Kingsmill Resort course in Williamsburg, Virginia.
“On 15, I knew there was a good chance,” Hsu said.
“I thought, I’ve been waiting seven years for this, I don’t want to wait anymore,” added the 26-year-old, who graduated from the Symetra Tour to play her rookie LPGA season in 2015, had 10 top-10 finishes, including one runner-up, on her resume.
She padded her lead with a birdie at 16, finishing with a three-under par 68 for a 13-under total of 271.
Moriya rebounded with her fifth birdie of the day at the 17th on the way to a one-under par 70 and solo second on 11-under 273.
She was one stroke in front of American Jessica Korda, who had three birdies and two bogeys – including a three-putt at the last – in a one-under 70.
Hsu became the first Taiwanese player to win on the LPGA tour since five-time major winner Tseng Yani won the 2012 Kia Classic. She said she hoped the win would offer something positive for fans in Taiwan to enjoy amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“I don’t know like what this win means for (Taiwan), but I really hope that I can give them some positive thought and a good energy to believe something,” she said.
“I know people are against the virus right now, sports are shut down, but there is something that the players or the people or the Taiwanese playing a different sport ... they can still cheer for.” Hsu came into the week without high expectations, exhausted from the travel from the LPGA event in Thailand two weeks ago in a journey broken by a 36-hole qualifier for the US Women’s Open.
“I think this is the happiest thing ever, how my caddie cried and somehow I just cried so hard the last hole,” she said. “But I feel happy.”