Taiwan’s Hsu Wei-ling takes first LPGA title
Taiwan’s Hsu Wei-ling takes first LPGA title
‘I FEEL HAPPY’: Hsu Wei-ling, the first Taiwanese player to win on the LPGA tour since 2012, said she hoped the win would offer Taiwanese something positive to enjoy
Hsu Wei-ling on Sunday rode an eagle at the 15th hole to an emotional two-stroke victory in the Pure Silk Championship, capturing a long-awaited first LPGA title.
“I thought I wouldn’t cry,” said the 26-year-old, who broke down in tears after a two-putt par at the final hole to seal the win.
However, the emotion had been building since her eagle at the par-five 15th hole, where her second shot kicked onto the green and she made the putt to suddenly find herself with a two-shot lead.
Taiwan’s Hsu Wei-ling, left, holds the winner’s trophy with her mother, Lu Wei-chia, as she celebrates winning the LPGA Tour’s Pure Silk Championship in Williamsburg, Virginia, on Sunday. Photo: AP
Hsu’s playing partner, Moriya Jutanugarn — who started the day tied with Hsu for the lead — had arrived at the 15th hole with a two-stroke lead, but the Thai found a fairway bunker with her second shot and ended up with a double bogey at the easiest hole on the course at Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Virginia.
“On 15, I knew there was a good chance,” Hsu said.
“I thought: ‘I’ve been waiting seven years for this, I don’t want to wait anymore,’” added the 26-year-old, who graduated from the Symetra Tour to play her rookie LPGA season in 2015 and has 10 top-10 finishes, including one runner-up, on her resume.
She padded her lead with a birdie at 16, finishing with a three-under-par 68 for a 13-under-par total of 271.
Moriya rebounded with her fifth birdie of the day at the 17th hole on the way to a one-under-par 70 and solo second on 11-under-par 273.
She was one stroke in front of American Jessica Korda, who had three birdies and two bogeys — including a three-putt at the last — in a one-under-par 70.
Hsu became the first Taiwanese player to win on the LPGA tour since five-time major winner Yani Tseng won the 2012 Kia Classic.
She said that she hoped the win would offer something positive for fans in Taiwan to enjoy amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.
“I don’t know, like, what this win means for [Taiwan], but I really hope that I can give them some positive thought and a good energy to believe something,” she said.
“I know people are against the virus right now, sports are shut down, but there is something that the players or the people or the Taiwanese playing a different sport … they can still cheer for.”
Hsu came into the week without high expectations, exhausted from the travel from the LPGA event in Thailand two weeks ago in a journey broken by a 36-hole qualifier for the US Women’s Open.
“I think this is the happiest thing ever, how my caddie cried and somehow I just cried so hard the last hole,” she said. “But I feel happy.”
Reuters, KIAWAH ISLAND, South Carolina
Phil Mickelson has never doubted himself over the course of his 30-year PGA Tour career, and still has the hunger and desire to win that drives all great players, the six-time major champion’s brother and caddie, Tim Mickelson, said on Sunday.
Phil Mickelson carded a one-over-par 73 to finish on six-under-par at the PGA Championship and become golf’s oldest major winner.
It was also his first major title since the 2013 British Open.
Tim Mickelson has been on his brother’s bag since 2017, so Sunday’s triumph was the first time that he has been able to share victory in a major from inside the ropes.
“He never doubted himself,” Tim Mickelson said, after Phil Mickelson’s two-shot win over Brooks Koepka and Louis Oosthuizen at Kiawah Island, South Carolina.
“His will and desire to win now is as high as it’s ever been in my opinion. Certainly it’s probably higher than when I started caddying for him,” Tim Mickelson said. “I think the best players in the world all have that, and Phil has just carried that on for 35 years.”
Phil Mickelson’s manager, Steve Loy, predicted that there is much more to come.
“He’s healthier than he’s ever been,” Loy said. “I think he’s going to win five more times, maybe 10. You can’t tell him: ‘No.’ Every time I try to tell him: ‘Look, we are running out of time,’ he’s going: ‘I don’t want to hear it.’”
Ladies Professional Golf Association
The idea that Taiwan’s Wei-Ling Hsu would win her first LPGA Tour title began to take shape as the final group, including Thailand’s Moriya Jutanugarn and 2021 Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions winner Jessica Korda, neared the 15th hole where Jutanugarn gave up two strokes in the fairway bunker to finish with a double bogey. On the same hole, Hsu made eagle, giving her a three-stroke advantage over the rest of the field heading into the final stretch. Korda and Australian Sarah Kemp maintained their cool as they, in addition to Jutanugarn, shared second place.
Hsu, who led the group after the first and co-led after the third, had plenty of reasons to win. Not only would it be her first career victory, but she’d be able to award Taiwan their first victory since five-time major winner on the LPGA Tour, Yani Tseng, won the 2012 Kia Classic.
“I don’t know like what this win means for [Taiwan], but I really hope that I can give them some positive thought and a good energy to believe something,” said Hsu who reported on the COVID-19 situation in her native country. “You can always believe something and it will actually happen. I know people are against to virus right now, sports are shutdown, but there is something that the player or the people or the Taiwanese playing a different sport out, different country, they can still cheer for.”
A better performance indeed as Hsu shot -3 under for a tournament total of -13 under after carding 20 birdies and one eagle throughout the week.
“I definitely never expected this. Like I said earlier this week, I was so tired. I didn’t expect much. And definitely when I finished first round solo lead, I definitely thought about that, but the second round just knock me down a little bit because I had a 1-over par,” said Hsu.
“I think this is the happiest thing ever, how my caddie cried and somehow I just cried so hard the last hole. But I feel happy and just happy,” Hsu said of how she felt after her historic win.
Barely missing her second win on the LPGA Tour was Jutanugarn who was still proud of her fight the past four days.
“I mean, it’s still a good week. I like to play in the last group on Sunday—that’s always a good week. Of course, it’s not finish I wanted to, but, you know, I still going to take a lot of good things from here,” said Jutanugarn.
LPGA: Rising star Min Lee is not to be confused with Minjee Lee
For starters, Min Lee is not Minjee Lee. Folks get them mixed up all the time. For years, Min Lee pointed out, her bio page on a major golf website has featured Minjee Lee’s picture. The same thing happens in stories written about her back home in Taiwan. Even in Minjee’s native Australia, Min Lee gets mistaken for the five-time winner from Perth.
Min Lee took to her personal Facebook page to jokingly clear up the matter: “I am Min Lee, only six letters. Not too hard to member. I am from Taiwan.”
Min Lee doesn’t get worked up about the confusion. She’s used to it by now, and it’s easy to see from her infectious personality that she’s a good sport in general. After a narrow loss to Matilda Castren at last week’s LPGA Mediheal, Lee went out of her way to offer a heartfelt congrats.
“Obviously she played much better on the front,” Lee said of Castren’s incredible start, “so I’m not going to punish myself because it was a great week.”
So great, in fact, that Lee jumped into position to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, vaulting 150 spots to No. 126 in the Rolex Rankings.
Last week Lee aimed to become the first player to win on the Symetra Tour and LPGA in consecutive starts. After claiming her third Symetra title on May 30 at the Mission Inn Resort & Club Championship, Lee held the 54-hole lead at Mediheal for the first time since joining the LPGA in 2015.
Castren made history by becoming the first player from Finland to win a tournament with a sensational final-round 65. But Lee, with her delightful personality, bright smile and gutsy play, made a lot of new fans, too.
Lee said she feels comfortable this week in Michigan at the Meijer LPGA Classic because she has stayed with the Fink family for several years now. Since she arrived in Grand Rapids, they’ve celebrated the June birthdays in the Fink home along with Min, who recently turned 26.
Castren isn’t in the Meijer field but recently secured tickets from the USGA to watch the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. She’ll be back in action next week at the KPMG Women’s PGA.
Lee spent all of 2020 back home in Taiwan during the COVID-19 pandemic, competing on the Taiwan LPGA, and credits time spent practicing alongside male professionals for the improvement in her short game.
“That was a lot of fun practicing with the guys,” she said, “because their point of view, it’s so much different than the women’s.”
Lee came to the U.S. in 2013 to train at Annika Sorenstam’s Academy near Orlando and work with the Swede’s longtime instructor Henri Reis.
She’s been bouncing back and forth between the Symetra Tour and LPGA, though that will end after a T-31 at the Pure Silk Championship and a runner-up finish at Mediheal.
“My only goal is just to settle down on the LPGA,” she said, “and then try to stay on here as long as I can.”
Lee grew up playing the piano but really focused on the guitar during the pandemic. She keeps herself calm during rounds by playing classical music in her head.
“I want to have a band,” she said, “but a one-person band maybe. My goal is to create my songs.”
Lee had the week off before the Mediheal – she wasn’t in the U.S. Women’s Open – and she spent the time learning to cook with a friend who lives in the Bay Area.
“We were making Taiwanese dessert,” she said, “and I made some duck, and it turned out really good. I loved it.”
The fun-loving Lee is expressive on the golf course and converses easily with media. She seems quite comfortable in whatever situation she finds herself in these days.
There was added inspiration, of course, in compatriot Wei-Ling Hsu’s break-through victory at Kingsmill.
“That really makes me want to fight harder,” she said. “I mean, because it’s been how many years, like 10 years since last time Yani won the tournament?
“We grew up together, we’re about the same age, and we train together when we grow up. We have been classmates all the time, and I’m really thinking about, if she can make it, I can do it, too.”