Choi repeats in Korea

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 10:37 AM ET

INCHEON, South Korea -- Na Yeon Choi closed with a three-under 69 Sunday to come from behind and repeat as champion at the Hana Bank Championship.

Choi finished at 10-under-par 206 for her fourth LPGA Tour title. She also won the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic earlier this year.

"I am really happy to defend my title this year," said Choi through a translator. "There were a lot of expectations from the fans that I have to defend my title. In order to live up to those expectations, I had to let everything out on the course and concentrate on every shot. That paid off."

Vicky Hurst posted a two-under 70 in the final round on the Ocean Course at Sky 72 Golf Club to take second place at minus-eight.

Song-Hee Kim, who owned at least a piece of the lead after the first two rounds, stumbled to a one-over 73 to end alone in third at seven-under 209.

Jiyai Shin (69) and Suzann Pettersen (70), the second- and fourth-ranked players in the world, shared fourth place with Paula Creamer (67) at six-under-par 210.

World No. 1 Cristie Kerr posted her third straight 71 to end in a tie for 12th at minus-three.

Choi, Kim and Hurst played together in the final group on Sunday.

Kim, who is still searching for her first LPGA Tour win, opened with a birdie on the first. After birdies on five and seven, she was two strokes clear Hurst and three ahead of Choi.

Choi collected front-nine birdies on the fourth and eighth to head to the back nine at minus-nine.

Kim tripped to a bogey on No. 9 to make the turn with a one-stroke lead. The big turning point came at the 10th.

Choi birdied the par four, while Kim made bogey to give Choi a one-stroke lead at 10-under. Choi made it two in a row as she birdied the par-four 11th for the third straight day to push her advantage to two strokes.

Choi, who celebrated her 23rd birthday on Thursday, tripped to a bogey on the 12th, but still led by two as Kim also made bogey there. Choi bounced right back with a birdie on No. 13.

After a pair of pars, Choi bogeyed the 16th for the third straight round to slip back to 10-under. She parred the last two to seal the win.

"Even though I am best friends with Song Hee, I can't think about friendship on the course," Choi stated. "It's all about competition on the course. I made my effort to focus on the game. If I thought about the friendship with Song-Hee, I could have not concentrated on my game the way I did."

Choi has seven top-three finishes in her last 10 starts and with the $270,000 first-place paycheck took over the top spot on the LPGA Tour's money list.

Kim followed her bogeys on nine and 10 with two more bogeys at 12 and 13 to slide to minus-seven. Kim got one stroke back with a birdie on the 15th, but she faltered to another bogey on No. 16.

"I was happy to play in front of the huge crowd in Korea," Kim said. "I was a little bit disappointed by the result, but at the same time, I think I did my best."

Hurst had a solid front nine that started with back-to-back birdies on the second. She birdied the seventh for the third round in a row. Around the turn, Hurst stumbled to a bogey on the 12th. She parred the other eight holes on the back nine to take second.

NOTES: Choi became the first player to win the same event in consecutive years since Lorena Ochoa won the Navistar LPGA Classic in 2008-09...Jee Young Lee, the 2005 champion, closed with a two-under 70 to share eighth place at four-under-par 212...The LPGA Tour completes its Asia swing next week with the Mizuno Classic, where Bo Bae Song is the defending champion.


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