Yang captures inaugural China LPGA title in dominant fashion

2009-05-16 16:12 BJT

BEIJING, May 15 (Xinhua) -- Yang Taoli ensured a homegrown talent would lift the inaugural title of the China LPGA Tour on Friday when the Sichuan native came out blazing to win the 50,000 U. S. dollars Beijing Orient Pearl Championship in a dominant performance.

After leading Thailand's Porani Chutichai by one stroke going into the final round at the Beijing Orient Tianxing Golf and Country Club, the 26-year-old Yang carded three birdies in her first five holes en route to a two-under 70 and a five-stroke victory.

She finished with a 54-hole aggregate score of seven-under 209.

Yang, who earned 7,500 dollars for the victory and will go to California next week to train in an attempt to qualify for the U.S. Women's Open, called the victory a relief after finishing runner-up or equal runner-up six times over the past two years.

"After so many (runner-up) finishes I'm excited to win this historic event. This is the first event of the first season of the new China LPGA Tour. That's something I'll have forever," she said. "The key point to the victory is my mental game. I think I have grown up."

With four bogeys against two birdies on the day, Porani could never challenge Yang and struggled to a two-over 74 for second place. Chinese veteran Yang Hongmei, the first round co-leader, rebounded from a disastrous 77 on Thursday to close with a 70 for third place. Shanghai-based Shen Yanhua was fourth following a 74.

National team player Li Chuxin (73) and Pan Yanghong (72), the winner of the Monday qualifier, were the top amateurs, 12 shots off the pace.

Yang Taoli, who made the turn at 33, found trouble early in her back nine when she double-hit for a double-bogey six when her awkward stance was too close to a tree. She then bogeyed the 12th hole before rebounding with a birdie at the next.

She ended her round with a birdie, draining a 10-foot putt much to the delight of the gallery.

"At the 12th hole I bogeyed because I went into the bunker and my bunker shot wasn't very good. After that hole I didn't panic. I thought there were six holes left and I have a chance for more birdies. I also had a three-shot lead. After the front nine I relaxed. Maybe I was too relaxed, but I got it back together again. Maybe that's a sign I'm maturing."

Porani called her playing partner full value for the win. "Yang Taoli started so well and it was evident it would be difficult to catch her. On the par-fives she can make birdie because her second shot is to the green. Me, it's my third shot to the green. She's a bit intimidating and a really good player."

The China LPGA Tour, created by the China Golf Association to foster the development of the women's pro game in the country, will play seven events in its inaugural season. Next week the tour travels to Shandong Province for the US$50,000 Yantai Orient Championship May 20-22. Future stops include Shanghai, Ningbo, Wenzhou and Xinjiang, with the tour concluding in December with the fourth edition of the US$250,000 Orient China Ladies Open, a co- sanctioned event with the Korea LPGA.

Editor: Zheng Limin | Source: Xinhua