An early setback left her hot under the collar but some soothing words from her Scottish caddie helped settle Mi Jung Hur. Only four holes into the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open on Thursday, the Korean needed the calming influence of Gary Marshall. “After I made two bogeys after one birdie, I was mad and he told me on the fourth tee box, ‘come on, MJ, you can win this tournament’,” said the 29-year-old after ending up doing just that at The Renaissance Club.
In non-stop rain for the final round on the East Lothian coast, Hur signed off with a brilliant 66 for a 20-under-par 264 total. After four players had been tied for the lead with only eight holes to play in the $1.5 million event, she ended up winning by four shots from compatriot Jeongeun Lee6 (70) and Thailand’s Moriya Jutanugarn (71), who was trying to keep the title in the family after her sister, Ariya, had triumphed at Gullane 12 months ago.
Prior to Hur delivering a telling thrust with four birdies in a row around the turn – she covered the last ten holes in six under and came home in 31 – Gorebridge man Marshall had once again delivered some welcome words of comfort to his boss. “He said today as well (that she could win the tournament) on the fourth because I made a bogey on the third after I had a three-putt. It helped me a lot to calm down and he talked about the wind and rain as well.”
This was Hur’s third LPGA title triumph, the first having come ten years ago before having to wait five years and then another five years for the next two victories to come along. “I didn’t know that,” she said after landing a £190,000 top prize for this success before adding with laugh: “I hope it (the next one) is more closer!”
Hur finished joint second behind her compatriot, Mi Hyang Lee, at Dundonald Links two years ago in similar foul weather. “I think that was more worse than today because we had 20-30 mile-per-hour wind that time,” she recalled. “I don’t think I’m good in the bad weather, but I had a good round today, so I can say I’m a pretty good player with the bad weather.” After picking up four birdies to go out in 31, Lee had the title in her sights for a second time, while Lee6, the US Women’s Open champion, and Jutanugarn were also right in the mix before Hur moved up a gear, clinching victory in style with an arrow-like approach that set up a closing birdie.
Asked when she felt she could go on and claim the win, she picked out the long 12th. “I had a really short third shot, left the putt really short but then rolled in the next one from 30 feet. I just played with my confidence after that,” she said.
Carly Booth, the 2012 winner, finished joint ninth after closing with a 71 for 274. The 27-year-old was in with a chance of a top five after moving to two-under for the day after 15 holes only to bogey the 16th and 18th, having gone 50 holes without dropping a shot prior to that.
“I can’t complain,” said the 27-year-old from Comrie, who picked up a cheque for £29,357, just less than her pay-day for winning seven years ago next door at Archerfield Links before the event became co-sanctioned between the LET and LPGA. “It was a shame to have two bogeys in the last three holes, but I had a good week and I’ll take my top ten for the week.”
After a damaging 81 on Saturday, Kylie Henry bounced back with a gutsy 66 to finish joint 50th on level-par. “If only I could erase round three!” she said afterwards. “I had two big numbers on my card and that really finished me. But I played really well today and it was a nice finish.”
In her first outing since December 2017, Pamela Pretswell Asher ended up 70th after a last-day 80 for a 10-over total. “I’m happy overall with the week and, if I could take away today, I’d be delighted,” she said.