HAKONE, KANAGAWA PREF. – On a day in which it seemed no birdie putt was beyond her range, South Korea’s Jeon Mi Jeong had eight final-round birdies on Sunday to win the CAT Ladies by four strokes.
Jeon, in her eighth season on the Japan tour, became the 11th player to reach 20 career wins with her 13-under-par 206. Mayu Hattori, Rikako Morita and South Korea’s Lee Bo Mee, who were among five overnight co-leaders, each shot a 71 to tie for second at the Daihakone Country Club.
Yuki Sakai was a stroke back in fifth and one stroke further back was last week’s NEC Karuizawa 72 winner, Yumiko Yoshida.
The 29-year-old Jeon earned ¥10.8 million for winning her third tournament of the year. She is now 10 wins shy of earning a lifetime exemption on the tour.
“The putts were amazing,” said Jeon, who sank a 17-foot birdie putt from the collar on No. 10 and followed that with a 35-foot birdie putt on No. 11. On No. 18 she read a difficult line perfectly to wrap things up with a 17-foot birdie putt.
“I’m pretty happy,” she said. “My swing has been good this year. I’ve had a good time playing golf. My ultimate goal is the lifetime exemption.”
Hattori, whose goal was to stay competitive on the back nine Sunday, had four birdies on the front nine for a one-stroke lead at the turn, but had two bogeys while failing to birdie any of the final nine holes.
“Even after I said that, this happened,” said the 24-year-old. “I was reminded once again how difficult golf is. I think I’ve still got a long, long way to go.
“All I can do is put this experience to good use.”