Wie Captures HSBC Women’s in Dramatic Fashion

SINGAPORE - MARCH 04:  Michelle Wie of the United States celebrates with the winner's trophy after the final round of the HSBC Women's World Championship at Sentosa Golf Club on March 4, 2018 in Singapore.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Michelle Wie gave the galleries at Sentosa Golf Club a finish to remember on Sunday, securing victory in the US$1.5 million purse HSBC Women’s World Championship and taking the winner’s cheque of US$225,000 with an epic 45-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole.

SINGAPORE - MARCH 03: Michelle Wie of the United States plays her shot from the second tee during round three of the HSBC Women's World Championship at Sentosa Golf Club on March 3, 2018 in Singapore. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

 (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

The win put paid to memories of 2017 when she led the tournament after the first and third rounds, before fading on the last. Her bogey-free round of seven-under-par 65 saw her add her name to a list of champions that includes some of the true greats of the game, including Lorena Ochoa, Ai Miyazato, Karrie Webb, Paula Creamer, and Inbee Park.

Teeing off in the penultimate flight of the day, and four shots behind overnight leader Nelly Korda, the Hawaiian maintained pressure on the leaders with birdies on holes 2, 4, 8, 10, 13, and 14 before producing the shot of the tournament on the last, to take the outright lead. It looked as though Korda, playing in the last flight of the day, would force a play-off; her superb approach to the 18th leaving her with a five-foot birdie putt, but it wasn’t to be.

Speaking about her fifth win on tour, Major-winner Wie said, “You know, I just kind of wanted to get revenge after last year a little bit. I kind of came with a slight chip on my shoulder in the morning, and I knew that I had to shoot low to even have a chance, and everyone played great today. I’m just really proud of myself for making a lot of birdies and keep going, and never really getting out of my head, which I’m really proud of doing today. But my caddie did a great job of keeping me in the game and keeping me entertained throughout the round. It was a lot of fun today.”

Speaking about the importance of the win after a four-year hiatus, she added, “It’s been a tough journey since 2014. I think it’s been kind of well documented. You know, I’ve had some injuries, had a really bad year, just lost a lot of confidence. But I’m just really proud for pulling myself out of it. I felt like I had a good year last year, a year where I built confidence, and I just want to keep building confidence from there. I just want to keep rising. I just want to keep playing the best I can, trying the hardest I can and trying to become the best player that I can be.”

(Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

With the pressure mounting on day four, neither Korda nor round-two leader Danielle Kang were able to repeat the kind of performances they had shown earlier in the week, carding rounds of one and two-under par respectively.

A visibly upset Korda was comforted by elder sister Jessica as she left the 18th. Speaking afterwards she said, “I had a bunch of putts that were really close and a lot of them lipped and burned edges. It definitely hurts, but that’s golf. There’s going to be another tournament. There’s going to be another feeling like this. I just have to keep going forward. I definitely fought till the end but sometimes it just doesn’t work out, but I’m proud of myself for fighting till the end.”

SINGAPORE - MARCH 04: Nelly Korda of the United States plays her shot from the second tee during the final round of the HSBC Women's World Championship at Sentosa Golf Club on March 4, 2018 in Singapore. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Brooke Henderson’s birdie on 18 saw her take a share of second, alongside Korda, Kang and Shin – Shin’s seven-under-par seeing her climb from over overnight ninth place. The South Korean’s birdie on 16 briefly gave her the outright lead, before a bogey on 18 dashed her hopes.

In a day that saw a number of players go low, the round of the day went to Korea’s Sei Young Kim who shot a course and tournament record of 10-under-par – one better than Angela Stanford and Caroline Mason’s nine-under-par 63.

SINGAPORE - MARCH 04: Brooke Henderson of Canada reacts to her birdie on the fifth green during the final round of the HSBC Women's World Championship at Sentosa Golf Club on March 4, 2018 in Singapore. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Showing continuous improvement throughout the tournament was Thai amateur Atthaya Thitikul. Her final round of six-under-par 66 saw her power her way into the top ten with scant regard for the company she was keeping.  Joining the tournament on the back of her Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific championship win last week, the 15-year-old golf prodigy finished tied in eighth place and ahead of her heroes Ariya Jutanugarn and So Yeon Ryu. She is unquestionably a name for the future.

Asked what her game plan was for the week, the teen said, “Keep smiling and have fun on the golf course, and focus on your game. Don’t worry about birdies. Don’t worry about the hole. Focus on the game. It’s only the clubs and the ball and the golf course and you.”

SINGAPORE - MARCH 03: Mercer Leftwich, caddie for Shanshan Feng of China, poses with his caddie of the year bib on the first tee during round three of the HSBC Women's World Championship at Sentosa Golf Club on March 3, 2018 in Singapore. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

(Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Speaking after the tournament, Tony Cripps, CEO of HSBC Singapore said: “We’d like to extend our warmest congratulations to this year’s winner, Michelle Wie, a champion that has not only performed to the highest calibre in a tough field, but also acted as an inspiration to the next set of golfing stars.

“When HSBC first brought this event to Singapore over a decade ago in 2008, our ambition was to help grow the game of golf in Asia. Today, as we reflect on another incredible week in Singapore, a global centre for International trade, we can all be proud to be a part of a tournament now thriving as a major global showpiece event for women’s golf.

“This year more than ever has showcased the incredible strength and depth that exists within the global talent pool of Women’s golf. We’ve seen ambitious players as young as 15 years old challenge the world’s best, course records tumble and rookies representing their countries in their debut season on the LPGA. Not only does this evidence the significance of the tournament’s new name – the HSBC Women’s World Championship, it also fills us with great excitement as to what the future holds for ‘Asia’s Major’.”

“Once again, HSBC and Singapore delivered in a huge way,” said LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan. “We enjoyed a battle that went right to the end and included some of the biggest names in the sport. What a week, what a finish and what a wonderful display of golf by the world’s best.”

Guy Kinnings, Senior Vice President & Chairman, Golf, IMG, the tournament’s promoter, added, “What a fantastic week we’ve had here at Sentosa Golf Club where we’ve witnessed one of the most exciting finishes in the tournament’s history. Congratulations to Michelle Wie on closing out a brilliant win. She is a deserving champion and joins a distinguished list of golfers to have won the HSBC Women’s World Championship.

SINGAPORE - MARCH 04: Jenny Shin of South Korea stands on the 18th green during the final round of the HSBC Women's World Championship at Sentosa Golf Club on March 4, 2018 in Singapore. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

“As ever, I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to our sponsors and tournament partners. Firstly, to HSBC whose sponsorship of this tournament continues to raise the bar in how golf tournaments are presented around the world. I’d like to thank Sentosa Golf Club for again providing a first-rate championship course, combined with the very best practice, clubhouse and spectator facilities; and to all our supporting partners, without whose support we would not be able to stage an event of this scale. Finally, I’d like to thank all the fans that have come out to watch the action on course – I hope you have enjoyed it as much as we have.”

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