Lee's brilliance secures NZ Open title
BY Bruce Young | ALPG Tour | 2014 ISPS Handa NZ Women’s Open hosted by Christchurch | Wrap | 02 Feb 2014
She had to pull out all stops to do so, but South Korean, Lee Mi Hyang, has narrowly defeated the defending champion and New Zealand golf’s darling, Lydia Ko, producing a final round of 63 at the Clearwater Golf Club near Christchurch to win the ISPS Handa New Zealand Women’s Open by one shot over Ko and by two over her fellow South Korean Bae Seon Woo and Americans Beth Allen and Anya Alvarez.
Lee came from eight shots of the 36 hole pace set by Alvarez with a seven birdie one eagle final round and had a wait of around eighty minutes before the final group of Alvarez, Ko and Allen finished their rounds.
Queenslanders Sarah Jane Smith and Bree Arthur headed the Australians when they finished in a share of 6th position, Smith’s round of 65 the second best of the day after Lee.
20 year old Lee played her first full season on the LPGA Tour in 2013 after graduating from the Futures Tour in 2012. She actually had partial status on the LPGA Tour in 2012 but played few events.
She struggled for much of the 2013 season with a best of 19th at the Evian Championship but managed to retain her status and today showed that she has serious game with her stunning effort around the at times demanding layout at Clearwater.
Bogeys at her final two holes cost Allen the chance of a playoff with Lee while Alvarez still had the lead early in her back nine before struggling over the closing holes.
The ALPG Tour now heads back across the Tasman, this time to Queensland for the Volvik RACV Ladies Masters at Royal Pines on the Gold Coast, that layout being used for the final time prior to a major remodel which gets underway the day after the tournament ends.