Baek wins playoff to take LPGA South Korea

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Kyu Jung Baek (Getty Images)

INCHEON, South Korea – Kyu Jung Baek of South Korea won a three-way playoff Sunday to claim the LPGA’s KEB-HanaBank Championship.

Baek, making the first LPGA start of her career, shot a final-round 67 to finish tied at 10-under 278 with Brittany Lincicome of the United States and compatriot In Gee Chun, then birdied the first playoff hole on the Ocean Course at the Sky72 Golf Club to take the title.

In the playoff, Lincicome and Baek hit third shots to four feet on the par-5 18th. Lincicome missed her birdie putt while Baek calmly made hers for the win. Chun’s hopes for the title were dashed when her approach shot went into the greenside water.

“Even before the playoff, I was in a similar situation for a similar shot with a similar break . When I played the KLPGA Championship,” Baek said. “I focused and was aggressive.”

The 19-year old Baek has three victories this year on the Korean tour. She became the fourth teenager to win on the LPGA Tour this season joining Lexi Thompson, Lydia Ko and Hyo Joo Kim.

Baek started the day with a share of the lead but fell back after playing the first 10 holes even-par. She rattled off five-consecutive birdies on Nos. 11-15 to get her back in the share of the lead.

“So going into the final nine, my goal was to come into the top 5 and so I really concentrated on every hole and I started making birdies,” said Baek. “It all started to kind of work for me from then on.”

No. 2-ranked Inbee Park of South Korea shot a 67 to finish one stroke behind the leaders.

U.S. Women’s Open champion Michelle Wie finished two strokes back after a 67 that included three birdies and an eagle on the par-5 No. 5. Wie was playing in her first tournament since withdrawing during the first round of the Evian Championship in September after reinjuring a stress fracture in her right hand.

Suzanne Pettersen of Norway, who was bidding for a third title here after winning the tournament in 2007 and 2012, shot a 71 to finish tied for 12th at 5-under 283. Defending champion Amy Yang of South Korea struggled with a 76 that left her tied for 46th place.