New Zealand No 1 bolts home in last round

PETER LAMPP
Last updated 12:00 17/02/2014

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Aucklander Mun Chin Keh might be a friend of prodigy Lydia Ko, but their careers are far from converging.

At 21, Keh, who won the women's LawnMaster Classic at her first attempt yesterday, is six years Ko's senior and is in no rush to chase the coin.

"I would like to go pro, but I need to gain more international experience," Keh said.

The New Zealand-born No 1 amateur is a shot's eye to represent New Zealand at the world amateur Espirito Santo tournament in Japan later this year.

She played at her first one in Turkey two years ago alongside Ko.

Last year she was a semifinalist in the New Zealand amateur at Manawatu.

"This was a different course set-up to the New Zealand amateur. The wind played a bigger part."

It was also her third Charles Tour win following wins at Muriwai and Tauranga last year.

Keh was always the sleeping minnow going into the final round, but she is so tiny no wonder she was almost blown off the course on the horrendous opening two days when she posted 79 and 75. By Saturday she had gone into a tie for fifth at eight over par after a 73, but still four shots behind overnight leader, Tyla Kingi, the pint-sized 15-year-old from Opotiki. Kingi, the national under-15 champion, was the Junior Tiger winner at Hokowhitu in 2009 and is mentored by former Manawatu player Susan Farron.

"I have had a couple of come-from-behind wins, but this was definitely one of my better rounds that I have had [to win]," Keh said.

"I didn't expect it after the first two rounds, with the wind."

A shot ahead of Mun Chin had been Keh's younger sister, Wenyung, Alanna Campbell, Bay of Plenty's Victoria Junior Masters winner last month, and Gulf Harbour's Onyou Kim.

It became a dust-up between Kim and Mun Chin Keh with them sharing the lead with three holes to play, but Kim double-bogeyed the par-three 16th and Keh had a round of five-under 68 (six birdies and a bogey) to win by two shots at four over par.

Onyou Kim, who returns to South Korea this week, had won the Grant Clements Memorial strokeplay at Mt Maunganui last week.

The perfect weather over the weekend obviously didn't suit the leader from the first two days, Hana-Rae Seifert (Waikato) who dropped to ninth of the 12 who made the cut.

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- Manawatu Standard

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