Megan Khang Finally Gets That Elusive LPGA Tour Win
CPKC Women's Open Champion Megan Khang With The Trophy From Her First LPGA Victory - Brad Ziemer/BC Golf Photo
By Brad Ziemer. British Columbia Golf
Through it all, through all the close calls and the 33 top-10s, Megan Khang never stopped believing. She knew there would be a magical moment like the one that unfolded early Sunday evening on Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club’s 18th hole.
Finally, Khang is a winner on the LPGA Tour. She did it in the most dramatic fashion, birdieing the 72nd hole to force a playoff with South Korea’s Jin Young Ko and then winning it on the first extra hole.
The 25-year-old, who hails from Massachusetts and is the daughter of parents who were refugees from the Vietnam War and came to the United States from Laos, can’t begin to tell you how good it feels. “It feels like it hasn’t even sunk in yet,” Khang said. “Honestly, I was kind of stressing all day.”
It did not come easy. Khang started the day with a three-shot lead and when she three-putted the 10th green for her third bogey of the final round, that lead was gone. At least her solo lead was gone. She was tied with Ko, a former world No. 1 who was seeking her third win of the season.
But Khang persevered. She birdied the 11th and 12th holes to regain the solo lead, but bogeys on 13 and 17 cost her the lead. She came to the 18th tee knowing she needed a birdie to tie Ko, who had just posted nine-under par with a clutch par putt on the 18th green.
After splitting the fairway with her drive, Khang hit one of the best shots of her life, a wedge from about 130 yards that settled about four feet left of the hole. She rolled in the birdie putt to force the playoff. “That pin today was hard to get to,” Khang said. “I knew I needed a birdie and that is probably one of my best shots I have hit under that kind of pressure.”
Khang had more work to do and had some serious butterflies as she headed into that playoff, which was held on the 18th hole. “There was definitely some nerves,” she said. “I was shaking signing my scorecard. I triple-checked it to make sure everything was correct.”
She won that playoff with a two-putt par after Ko hit her drive deep into the left rough, had to take a drop and made a double-bogey. Khang was immediately encircled by a large number of her LPGA colleagues — including U.S. Solheim Cup captain Stacy Lewis and Canada’s Brooke Henderson — and doused with champagne, water and any other liquid they happened to have handy
Image Credit Marilyn Webster/BC Golf
Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club Showed What A Great Championship Venue It Is At The CPKC Women’s Open
It was the perfect ending to what was a great tournament. Shaughnessy, as it always seems to do at big events, demonstrated once again that it truly is one of this country’s great golf courses. It presented a major championship test for the players and it came as no surprise that no one got it to double-digits under par.
“I got to the course Monday and I played a practice round with some friends and we were joking, ‘I thought we were done playing majors this year,’” Khang said of Shaughnessy. “Tough is an understatement. You hit an errant tee shot and you were punching out. Small greens, firm and fast. It really did play like a major.”
The tournament attracted large supportive crowds. About 63,000 passed through the gates, making it the second best attended Women’s Open in the tournament’s history. The event was blessed with great weather and the leaderboard was packed full of big names all week. Things were so good we’ll even forget about all those mosquitoes.
Khang closed with a two-over 74, while Ko shot a three-under 69. China’s Ruoning Yin finished third at seven-under par, while Australian Hannah Green and Sei Young Kim of South Korea tied for fourth at six-under. Only 18 players finished under par on Shaughnessy’s demanding layout.
All that was missing, really, was a Canadian on the leaderboard. Brooke Henderson made something of a Sunday charge. She had the fans roaring with a birdie-eagle-birdie stretch to close out her front nine and posted a nice four-under 68. She finished tied for 13th at two-under par. “I’m really excited to have the round I did today, especially the front nine,” Henderson said.
“That was a lot of fun. I felt like I gave the fans something to be really excited about, which I am always trying to do, so that felt really nice. It was really exciting that stretch on 7, 8, and 9 where I really had things going and the crowd was excited. I really enjoyed that a lot.”
Hamilton’s Alena Sharp, the only other Canadian to make the cut, also closed strong. She, too, shot a four-under 68 and tied for 36th at three-over par. “I putted much better today,” Sharp said. “I drove it a little bit better. I got lucky a couple of times and not so lucky a couple of times. That’s the golf course for you. I am happy to come back and shoot an under-par round to finish the week.”
Khang, who turned pro out of high school at age 17, credited her team — family, coaches, caddie and boyfriend — with helping her keep believing this day would come. She got emotional when talking about her parents. Her dad ran an auto repair shop and her mom is a kindergarten teacher.
“We are truly living the American dream and I owe everything to them for sacrificing and believing in me,” she said. “This is a family win. I haven’t been able to talk to them yet, but it is probably going to be a cryfest when we FaceTime.”
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