Korea's Lee Jeong-hwa held her nerve in the searing heat at Fanling to capture the inaugural Hong Kong Ladies Open with a gutsy final-round performance last month.
The 20-year-old from Busan, who held a share of the overnight lead alongside Chinese Taipei's Chen Yu-ju, closed with a 71 for a three-under-par total, one shot ahead of playing partner Yu and the fast finishing Kanphantitnan Muangkhumsakul of Thailand for her maiden professional title.
"I am so excited, it's an amazing feeling to win for the first time," said Lee, who left The Hong Kong Golf Club with a cheque for US$18,000. "Before this week I was only looking for a top 10, but I managed to win the tournament - it's a wonderful surprise."
Lee, who spends most of the season playing on the Korean LPGA Tour, built a three-shot lead through 15 holes after playing near flawless golf over the historic Old Course. Starting her round with eight consecutive pars, the former Philippines Ladies Amateur champion made three birdies in four holes around the turn before dropping her first shot of the day at the difficult par-3 16th. Another bogey at the last, after she pulled her drive, failed to take the gloss off what was an impressive all-round performance.
"I felt confident before the start of the round but this golf course isn't easy at all - the greens are so small and you have to be very precise," explained Lee. "I felt good all day until the last hole when I knew I had my chance. Luckily I did enough to win and I look forward to returning next year to defend my title."