Lopez holds off big names to win in China
Mexico’s Gaby Lopez held off world No.1 Ariya Jutanugarn to capture her first LPGA Tour title at the Blue Bay LPGA in China.
Played in typically blustery conditions on Hainan Island, Lopez posted a one-over-par 73 which proved to be enough, as Jutanugarn failed to recover from four bogeys on the front-nine.
In doing so, Lopez becomes Mexico’s first champion since Lorena Ochoa, who last won on the tour over nine years ago.
Sung Hyun Park, the world No.2, was also in the final group, and Lopez admitted she felt pressure playing with the two heavyweights of the women’s game.
“You know, probably this was the biggest challenge that I’ve ever faced on the golf course, being in the same group as world No. 1 and world No. 2,” Lopez said.
“I was just very fortunate and very lucky to have that challenge, to face it, knowing I had to play my best game because they were going to play good. I knew they were going to hit some great shots and I had to keep up with them.”
After the round, Lopez paid tribute to her grandfather – who sadly passed away recently.
“I always told him that I was going to give him my first trophy. Sadly I didn’t, but he was with me all week long, and I couldn’t be more lucky, more fortunate to have him still alive in me.”
Elsewhere, France’s Celine Boutier fired a stunning bogey-free round of 66 to finish third, her best career finish on the LPGA Tour, while Danielle Kang and Sei Young Kim rounded out the top-five.
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This week, the tour heads to Naples for the season finale at the CME Group Tour Championship, with the $1m bonus prize up for grabs.