Ai Suzuki eases to Japan Classic victory
Last Updated: 12/11/19 11:20am
Ai Suzuki carded a bogey-free, five-under 67 to win the TOTO Japan Classic by three strokes and secure her first LPGA Tour victory.
The 25-year-old started the third and final round with a three-shot cushion at the Seta Golf Course and she maintained her grip on the tournament with birdies at the second, fifth, sixth and seventh.
After a run of 10 straight pars, Suzuki then made her fifth birdie of the day on the par-five 18th hole to finish on 17-under 199, three ahead of South Korea's Hyo Joo Kim, who closed with a best-of-the-day 66.
Suzuki is the second successive Japanese winner of the Japan Classic following Nasa Hataoka. With the win, Suzuki, a regular on the JLPGA with five victories this season, becomes eligible for LPGA Tour membership.
Australian Minjee Lee finished in third place on 11-under 205 after shooting a 68 in the final event of the LPGA Tour's Asia Swing.
Jennifer Kupcho of the United States tied for fourth with Jin Yang of China after a 68 left her seven strokes back.
Gaby Lopez, who started the final round in second place, offset a pair of birdies with two bogeys for an even-par 72 which left the Mexican tied for sixth place with three others, including two-time Japan Classic winner Shanshan Feng (70).
Mel Reid (70) finished joint-20th on four under, with fellow Englishwoman Bronte Law (69) back in joint-45th on level par.
Lexi Thompson, making her first start since the Indy Women in Tech Championship in September, tied for 24th place after a closing 71.
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