June 30, 2015 11:37
Choi Na-yeon grabbed her second win of the season and her ninth career LPGA title on Sunday, winning the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in dramatic fashion at the Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas.
On the 16th hole of the third round, Choi scored a miraculous eagle to move ahead of Stacy Lewis of the U.S. by a stroke, then birdied the 17th to widen the lead. Choi finished with a 15-under 198 to lift the champion's trophy.
Mika Miyazato of Japan was runner-up with 13-under, and Lewis took third place with 12-under after bogeying on the 18th. For the fifth time this season, Lewis found herself in a closely fought contest against a Korean golfer, only to end up in second or third place.
Sunday's victory pushed Choi from 20th to 13th in the world rankings. She is now the fifth-highest-ranked Korean on the LPGA Tour, after Park In-bee (No. 1), Kim Hyo-joo (4), Ryu So-yeon (7) and Kim Sei-young (10). Choi needs to break into the top four if she wants to make the squad for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
"I want to compete in the Olympics, be at the top of the money list, win a major title and win three titles in a season -- something I've not been able to do so far," Choi said.
"I still remember the pressure I felt, when I reached the world No. 2 spot several years ago. I was under so much pressure to get to the top at the time. I failed to handle it, which led to a long slump, so I'd like to stay calm and try not to be too ambitious."
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