This IS Golf - Womens Golf
The Korean women golfer Jeong Jang (JJ) chose the British Women's Open Golf championship at Royal Birkdale, Southport, to win her first title. What's more she led from start to finish to win by four clear shots. Birkdale is a typical British seaside links, undulating greens protected by deep bunker traps.
Her final score of 16 under par was far too good for her rivals who could not get close enough to land a telling blow. JJ claimed the first prize of 160,000 pounds sterling from a total prize purse of more than a million pounds, comfortably her best ever payday.
The cold wet weather of earlier in the week finally made way for some sunshine to welcome JJ into the final stretch. Sophie Gustafson of Sweden finished in second place on minus 12, with another Korean, Young Kim finishing in joint third with the teenage sensation Michelle Wie on minus 10. Annika Sorenstam finished a further shot back after suffering an out of bounds penalty as she pressed late on to get in touch.
Afterwards JJ gave her caddie huge credit for all the advice and support he had shown her. The charismatic Michelle Wie took the Smith's Salver as the highest placed amateur. When interviewed she said she still had not decided when she should turn professional. She is incredibly still only fifteen years old.
The thought that a fifteen-year-old boy could enter the Open and run so close to the winner is absolute fantasy, yet Michelle Wie is already a force to be reckoned with in the women's game. She revealed she is considering entering the men's open to run on the same course in 2008, and who is to say this is not simply the confidence of youth?
There is something of the Tiger Woods about her, certainly she brought back memories of the young amateur Tiger playing in the Walker Cup in 1995. She is a breath of fresh air for women's golf, there is little doubt about that, and a breath that is sorely needed after women's golf memberships in Britain have been surprisingly falling. The sport has been crying out for a young interesting talent. Golf has one now.
But this was JJ's day, and the likeable Korean endured a dousing in champagne immediately after sinking the final put, before setting off with her fans for a celebratory night out in Southport.
Betting on JJ after day two was light as she showed few signs of letting her grip on the giant Waterford Crystal trophy slip. Afterwards she said she would have to start working out in order to lift the heavy prize. Starting the day two to one on, she swiftly went shorter and her odds on winning gradually slipped throughout the afternoon.
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