Japan's Haru Nomura wins Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic
ABS-CBN Sports on Apr 25, 2016 10:33 AM
Haru Nomura, of Japan, hits the ball out of a bunker onto the fifth green of the Lake Merced Golf Club during the final round of the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic golf tournament, Sunday, April 24, 2016, in Daly City, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)DALY CITY, Calif. (AP) — Haru Nomura held on in strong wind to win the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic on Sunday for her second LPGA Tour victory of the year.
The 23-year-old Japanese player closed with a 1-over 73 in wind gusting to 35 mph at Lake Merced to finish at 9-under 279 and beat South Africa's Lee-Anne Pace by four strokes.
Nomura won the Australian Women's Open in February, pulling away to beat top-ranked Lydia Ko by three strokes for her first LPGA Tour title.
After birdieing the par-5 sixth to reach 11 under, Nomura bogeyed four of the next five holes. She rebounded with a speeding 70-foot birdie putt on the par-3 12th, added another birdie on 14 and offset a bogey on 16 with a birdie on 17.
Nomura was projected to jump from 36th to 23rd in world ranking. She joined Ko and Ha Na Jang as the only two-time winners this season.
The Japanese player had a rules scare Saturday. After her third-round 71, she met with rules officials to examine her play from an awkward stance on a slope in a bunker on the par-5 sixth hole. The officials decided no penalty was warranted for building a stance, leaving her with a par instead of a double bogey.
Pace finished with a 74.
Ko shot a 75 on her 19th birthday to tie for sixth at 1 under. The New Zealander won the tournament the previous two years.
Gerina Piller and Na Yeon Choi tied for third at 4 under. Piller shot a 73, and Choi had a 75. Piller's husband, Martin Piller, tied for fourth earlier Sunday in the PGA Tour's Texas Open.
So Yeon Ryu, the first-round leader after a tournament-record 63, was fifth at 2 under after a 75.
Brooke Henderson joined Ko in the group at 1 under after a 76. The 18-year-old Canadian extended her top-10 streak to eight events.
Third-ranked Lexi Thompson (71) also was 1 under along with Jenny Shin (72) and Mi Jung Hur (74).
Michelle Wie withdrew because of neck spasms after playing the first 15 holes in 11 over. Wie was 16 over after opening with rounds of 73, 73 and 75.
She's winless since the 2014 U.S. Women's Open and hasn't had a top-10 finish in 33 events. Last year, she struggled with left hip and ankle injuries. In 2014, she fought a stress fracture in her right hand.