Ilhee Lee, a petite third-year professional on the LPGA Tour, held steady while her challengers were blown away by the strong winds and claimed a two-stroke victory over Irene Cho Sunday at the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic at the Ocean Club Golf Course. It was Lee’s first win as an LPGA professional.
Lee, a 24-year-old native of South Korea, was leading by a single stroke as she tackled the final two holes. She holed a 6-foot par putt on the second-to-last hole and then made birdie at the 485-yard par 5 final hole to give her breathing room over Cho, who had finished her round two hours earlier. Lee made five birdies and was bogey-free for her 12-hole last round. Cho was even better on the last day, making seven birdies in just 12 holes. Par for the final round was 47 while par for the first two rounds was 45.
The inaugural LPGA tournament in the Bahamas was shortened due to heavy rains on Tuesday that left several of the holes unplayable for the rest of the week. Officials creatively re-configured 12 usable holes and collectively finished three days with 36 holes played, making the money earned “official” for LPGA purposes.
“I was thinking that my goal for today was 4 under,” said Lee, the 2004 Asia-Pacific Junior Champion. “But when I saw the wind blowing super hard I changed my goal to earn par. Then I birdied the first hole, second hole, third hole and then thought maybe this is the day. I can’t believe it right now. It feels amazing.”
Anna Nordqvist finished third at 8 under par. Five others were grouped at 7 under par, including former Rolex No. 1 player Cristie Kerr.