Saiki clinches LPGA Tour title

Updated: 25 February 2007 09:04 IST

American veteran Kim Saiki won the $1.5 million Wegmans Rochester tournament on Sunday, for the first victory in her 12 years on the LPGA Tour.

Saiki clinches LPGA Tour title

Pittsford, New York: American veteran Kim Saiki won the $1.5 million Wegmans Rochester tournament on Sunday, for the first victory in her 12 years on the LPGA Tour. The 38-year-old Saiki shot a 1-under 71 and overtook compatriot and former winner Rosie Jones by four strokes. The event was played at the Locust Hill Country Club in Pittsford, New York - just outside Rochester. The day came down to a battle between two Americans - Saiki and Rosie Jones. Jones took the lead at 13-under-par with a birdie putt on the eighth hole, as Saiki looked on. Close fightLooking for her third victory here in seven years, Jones took a one-stroke lead three times during the course of the final round. But Saiki got the lead back when her approach shot on the 12th hole came to a stop just centimetres from the cup. She made the birdie putt and again took the lead at 13-under-par. Saiki struck again with her wedge after another great approach shot on the 14th hole to set up another birdie to get back to 13-under-par after she faltered with a bogey at hole 13. The decisive moment in the match came on the 14th green when Jones missed a putt for bogey and ended up with a double bogey and dropped two strokes. At that stage, she was three behind Saiki at 10-under-par. Final tallyJones made it interesting when she sank a 25-foot birdie putt on the very next hole and put some pressure on Saiki. But the winless tour veteran answered when she dropped an even longer putt for a clutch par, and maintained a two stroke lead. Saiki finished 14-under 274 at the tree-lined Locust Hill course, with a final par putt for the victory. Jones shot a 74 to drop back into a tie for second with Mi Hyun Kim (72) of South Korea, a runner-up here in 2002 who picked up her 10th top-10 finish this year. Jones won here in 1998 and 1991 and lost in a playoff to Kathy Whitworth in 1984. Saiki earned $225 thousand to leap from 77th to 14th on the LPGA money list. Her career earnings rose to $1.6 million. (AP)

Topics : Golf
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