Chinese Taipei's Lin Tzu-chi captured the Ningbo Challenge on Saturday, redeeming herself in a second-hole playoff win over China's Yang Taoli after squandering a five-shot lead going into the final round of the China LPGA Tour event.
Playing in cold, windy, wet and at times sunny conditions over the Ningbo Orient Golf Club on the Zhejiang province coast, US Futures Tour regular Lin stumbled to a five-over 77, as Yang closed with an even-par 72.
Both players finished 54-holes of regulation play at six-under 210 in the 500,000-yuan tournament.
As the wind picked up considerably for the playoff making walking into the gust difficult, both players got up and down for par on the first extra hole, the par-four 18th. Returning to the same hole, Yang got to the green on her approach, but needed three putts to get in the hole.
Lin found the green on her approach, landing her ball 30 feet from the flag. From there, she calmly two-putted for par to claim her maiden CLPGA Tour victory. The win was worth 75,000 yuan.
"This is an up-and-down round. I'm excited with the fact that I'm the winner at the end of the day," said the 22-year-old. "I'm very happy to beat her (Yang) because she played great."
Lin found trouble from the start of her round as she bogeyed the par-five first hole, one of seven she would card during the day against a lone birdie on the par-five seventh.
When Yang birdied the par-five 17th to get to six-under, Lin said she "panicked a little" and closed her round with consecutive bogeys to set up the playoff.
"Today, the quality of my shots was not very good. There was a strong wind and it was hard to control the shots so I felt a little bit of panic off the tee," said Lin who will now play tournaments in the U.S. before returning for more CLPGA Tour events next month.
Yang also struggled in the blustery conditions but offset her four bogeys with four birdies.
"I played very great, but with a disappointing ending. I thought too much about the last putt. I think about the strong wind. But I didn't think I can have a chance with two holes left in regulation," said the Sichuan native who has played in Japan the past two years.
"Anyway, this runner-up shows I made progress, especially with iron play. I'm happy I didn't give up for the whole round."
Liu Yu finished third for the second consecutive week as the 17-year-old amateur closed with a 75 for a one-under score, five shots back of the leaders.
China's Tian Hong (79), the first-round co-leader, and Chinese Taipei's Liu Ye-chen (74) were equal fourth, nine shots off the pace. Huang Ping (77) and Zhang Na (77) were a shot further back.
The fifth year of the China LPGA Tour features 10-plus events culminating in the Hyundai China Ladies Open this December in Xiamen, Fujian province. The next event is the Srixon XXI0 Ladies Open, May 10-12.