LPGA, Ha Na Jang, Coates Golf Championship
 

South Korea's Ha Na Jang has achieved her first LPGA victory at the Coates Golf Championship Presented by R&L Carriers, a week after her historic albatross.

Needing a par at the last, Ha Na Jang hit her third shot into the par-5, 18th to five feet and drained the birdie putt. Jang celebrated in the rain by turning her putter into a samurai sword, laughed and then immediately began to cry in the rain as her dad raced over to embrace her. It was the type of celebration that only Jang, one of the largest personalities on the LPGA Tour, could have produced and the subsequent joyful tears the result of the freedom of breaking free of the frustration of four runner-ups a year prior, including one right here in Ocala.

“I can’t describe it. I’m so happy. I cannot put it in my words. My dad, every week, everyday, and together for me, it’s really thank you every week (tearing up),” Jang said as her voice cracked.
“Thank you for my mom, too, who has helped, but sometimes my dad gave, like a little fight, too, say always you can do this, you’ve got it, you’re really good. So I say really thank you my dad.”

In addition to the frustration of close calls, she had to watch a year ago as her longtime friends and competitors – Hyo Joo Kim, Sei Young Kim, and In Gee Chun – posted wins on the LPGA Tour while all she felt like she had to show was four runner-ups.

“It’s been affecting me the way I play because they’re competitors and they’re good friends. I’ve been competing with them for a long time. So watching them winning and then finishing second four times, it’s been heartbreaking,” Jang said.
“I put a lot of pressure on myself, but I worked very hard, so finally I got there and have the win. From now on, I’m going to be able to relax a little bit more, focus more on upcoming tournaments.”

Outside of Jang and her dad, no one was happier for her than the world’s No. 1 player, Lydia Ko, who held a share of the 54-hole lead with Jang on a day the final pairing had to play 30 holes. Ko hung with Jang for much of the front nine but found tree trouble at the seventh and ultimately played the next five holes in 5-over-par to play her way out of contention.

“It’s been a long day, especially with the weather the last few holes, but Ha Na finished so close in so many events, especially last year where we both came tied second, I think, so it was great to see her play well and finish classy with a nice birdie,” Ko said.

Charley Hull raced up the leaderboard on the final day with a round of 67 which included six birdies in her last twelve holes. She finished tied 25th. 

Image-LPGA


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