Jang claims first LPGA title

Ha Na  Jang sank birdie putts of about six feet on the 16th and 18th holes to claim her first LPGA Tour victory by two strokes over Brooke Henderson of Canada in the Coates Championship at Golden Ocala Golf and Equestrian Club in rainy Ocala, Fla.

“It’s amazing feeling right now,” said the 23-year-old Jang, who finished second four times last year in her rookie season on the circuit, including at Ocala. “It was really fun.

“I am really comfortable on this course after last year and the weather was no problem because it’s like this in Korea sometimes. I have more confidence after those seconds last year.”

Jang finished with an even-par 72 and a winning total of 11-under 277.

Henderson, 18, seeking her second LPGA victory, also closed with a 72, but made two bogeys with three-putts down the stretch and missed a few make-able birdie putts as well.

“I struggled a little on the last few holes, but I still finished with a good score considering the conditions,” said Henderson, who won the Cambia Portland Classic last August to earn her spot on the LPGA Tour.

Top-ranked Lydia Ko of New Zealand, who was tied for the lead with Jang entering the final round, played a five-hole stretch through No. 11 in 5-over en route to a 75.

Even though Ko birdied three straight holes through No. 17, she wound up three shots back in a tie for third with South Koreans In Gee Chun, who had a 70, and Sei Young Kim, who totaled 71.

Julie Yang of South Korea carded a 68 and was another shot down in a tie for sixth with Semin Feng of China, who posted a 69, and Suzann Pettersen of Norway, who came in at 71.

Austin Ernst shot 69 and was five strokes back in a tie for ninth with Lexi Thompson (71), Alison Lee (70) of Valencia and UCLA and Paula Reto (71) of South Africa.

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