SINGAPORE — Ha Na Jang saved her best for last. The 23-year old from South Korea shot a tournament-low 7-under 65 on Sunday and eagled the 72nd hole to claim her second career LPGA title at the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore.
Jang, who held the solo 54-hole lead, finished at 19-under par and four shots ahead of Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum.
“It’s amazing right now, because last, eagle, is very fun, very enjoy, exciting in my mind,” said Jang. “It’s very comfortable today but it’s really, really happy this year because two wins right now, very happy.”
It’s her second victory in just her last four starts. She won her first title – the Coates Golf Championship Presented by R+L Carriers- last month in Ocala, Fla. After recording four runner-ups in her rookie year last season, Jang said her goal in 2016 was to get two wins. She now realizes she’ll have to reevaluate her goals.
“Target in 2016 is two wins, but right now, I’m there, so going to change my target from two more wins, so very comfortable right now,” said Jang.
Jang’s eccentric personality has been on showcase so far this year and has put on some memorable celebrations in big moments. In the season-opening event in the Bahamas, Jang had the first-ever albatross on a par 4 in LPGA history and took a traditional bow to the ground and kissed the green as she approached the hole. A week later in her maiden win, she celebrated with a Samurai inspired rendition with her putter on the 18th green. This week’s featured a dance inspired by Beyonce’s Super Bowl performance.
“I’m watching the TV and really good music with Beyonce, and watching Beyonce, she’s really nice,” said Jang. “I try, I think about, like I’m trying to dance after my putt, it’s really good today. Yeah, single ladies. I’m single right now, too. (Laughter).”
Jang started the day with a one-shot lead over Phatlum and went out in 33 to extend the lead to three shots through nine holes. Her first bogey in 50 holes – going back to No. 14 in Thursday’s first round – cut the lead to two.
“No. 10 is like just a little more — too much thinking…Then I try more birdie, birdie, but I don’t think — after No. 11, just be patient, just be patient, it’s okay,” said Jang.
But three straight birdies on Nos. 12-14 gave Jang control and a four-shot lead with four holes to play. It was her putter that made the difference, sinking a 30-footer on the 13th and 50-foot bomb on No. 14. She said a little bit of extra practice yesterday on the greens seemed to make a difference.
“I think it’s first round and then third round, is really big miss every hole the putt. But a little more practicing after yesterday’s round and trying to compare to impact and feeling,” said Jang.
She walked to the 18th tee with a three-shot lead after Phatlum birdied the 16th and said it wasn’t exactly in her game plan to go for eagle. Jang initially didn’t want to admit she was just trying to get on the green. Her approach on the par 5 went more left than she originally wanted but her 3-wood from 194 yards did not steer her wrong. Her ball hit the front side of the green and rolled to six feet left of the hole.
“No. 18 on the second shot, I just try right side of bunker my target, was a little bit miss,” said Jang. “I say, don’t hit the tree, don’t hit the tree, just go on the green please and perfect finish, it’s amazing. My mind is like, oh, my God, this is my shot. It’s amazing.”