Symetra Classic

Mi Hyang Lee wins Symetra Classic by 1 shot at Raintree

Collapse by Saturday front-runner Allison Hanna opens door for South Korean

CorrespondentSeptember 16, 2012 

South Korea’s Mi Hyang Lee counted on being lucky too much during her rookie season on the LPGA Symetra Tour.

But it was newfound confidence in her game – along with a little luck Sunday – that led to Lee’s one-shot victory in the Symetra Classic at Raintree Country Club.

Lee posted her first win – and became the 13th winner in 14 Symetra Tour events by coming out strong on the front nine, then getting a few breaks on the back nine to beat out Olivia Jordan-Higgins of the Channel Islands.

“The beginning of the day, I wasn’t even anticipating winning,” Lee – whose $15,000 in winnings moved her to season earnings to $38,786, fourth on the tour money list – said through her caddie, Young Lim.

“I was lucky to finish as well as I did in the first two events this season, but I got into a little slump because I thought I would keep getting lucky. But I picked up a lot of confidence when I made my first LPGA event last week (in Williamsburg, Va.), and I felt something this week.”

Lee, who also took over the lead in the Tour’s rookie of the year standings, shot a 4-under 68 in Sunday’s final round, and a three-round total of 8-under 208. Jordan-Higgins also shot 68 Sunday, and finished at 7-under 209.

Tied for sixth after Saturday’s round, most of Lee’s birdies came on Raintree’s front nine – six in all, pushing her up the leaderboard. She faltered some on the back nine, with two birdies offset by four bogies.

“On the first hole, I made a 40-foot putt for birdie,” Lee said. “I thought it was pretty lucky to go in.

“I just wanted to have a good finish. But when I shot so well on the front nine, I thought about making a little run on the back nine.”

Hanna collapses

However, Lee also got a break – a spectacular back-nine collapse by then-frontrunner Allison Hanna.

Hanna, who went into Sunday’s final round up by two strokes, held steady with a birdie on the front nine. But the Portland, Ore., native had four bogeys – including a double on No. 13 – and a birdie over a six-hole stretch on the back nine to open the door for Lee.

“I was doing pretty good, then I just hit some bad shots,” said Hanna, who closed out at 3-over 75 to finish the tournament at 6-under 210, tying for third with Daniela Iacobelli of Viera, Fla.

“I still did pretty good this weekend. I can take this into the next tournament (the Symetra Tour event in Vidalia, Ga.). If I can win there or the next event (at Daytona Beach, Fla.), I can finish out the year pretty good.”

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