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Leina continues reign at TOC E-mail
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Tuesday, 06 August 2013 19:25

By Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter | Saipan Tribune

Leina Kim, second left, poses with Tournament of Champions organizers and sponsors after receiving her first place prizes in the Ladies division during last Sunday?s awards ceremony at the Laolao Bay Golf Resort. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)Leina Kim, second left, poses with Tournament of Champions organizers and sponsors after receiving her first place prizes in the Ladies division during last Sunday’s awards ceremony at the Laolao Bay Golf Resort. (Roselyn B. Monroyo) Top collegiate golfer Leina Kim extended her winning run in the Tournament of Champions after escaping with a close victory in last weekend’s competition at the Laolao Bay Golf Resort.

“It was nerve-wracking,” said Kim, who shot a two-day total of 6-over 150, just one stroke ahead of junior golfer Jeong Yoon Kim.

Leina Kim, the Colorado State University-Pueblo’s Rookie of the Year and Golfer of the Year awardee in NCAA Division II’s Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, and Jeong Yoon Kim were in a standoff after the first round last Saturday. Jeong Yoon Kim shot a 39 and 37 on the front and back nines of the west course for a 4-over par 76, while Leina Kim was consistent in the first day with her 38s.

The co-leaders were still neck-and-neck as they headed to the east course before Leina Kim pulled ahead after saving par on the par-4, 311-yard No. 16 hole.

“That was our very last hole. She bogeyed that hole and later she came up to me and said congratulations. Actually, before that, I did not know who is winning. I knew we were tied after the first round, but in the second round, I lost count,” said Leina Kim, who beat Jeong Yoon Kim by 12 strokes last year, shooting a 1-over par 145 against the 157 of the latter.

“She improved a lot and I am proud of her,” the eventual Ladies champion added.

After saving par on the No. 16, Leina Kim ended up with a 2-over par 38 in her last nine holes and adding her even par 36 in the first nine, she posted a 2-over par 74. Jeong Yoon Kim had a 37 and 38 for a gross 75 and another bridesmaid finish.

The victory gave Leina Kim her fourth straight Ladies championship and sixth overall. She started her streak in the TOC in 2010 and got her first two crowns in 2006 and 2007. She vowed to continue competing in the annual tournament and aims to tie if not break the record in the women’s division.

Veteran golfer Noriko Togawa holds the record (most wins) in the TOC with her nine victories (1996, 1998 and 1999, 2001-2005, and 2008).

“I am getting there,” Leina Kim said.

Leina Kim and Jeong Yoon Kim received $600 and $500, respectively, and trophies for placing in the Top 2 in the Ladies division. Also getting a cash prize ($400) and trophy was third placer Shiori Onoue, who earned a two-day total of 17-over par 161. She carded an 82 (42 and 40) in the first round and played better in the second round with a 79 (40 and 39) to round up the Top 3.

Meanwhile, TOC organizers also recognized the No. 4 and 5 finishers in the Ladies Low Gross. Yuko Togawa finished fourth (163), while Me Ae Jeon came in at fifth (170).

 

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