Sun-Ju Ahn won the LPGA Tour’s Toto Japan Classic in Shima on Sunday, beating fellow South Korean Ji-Hee Lee and American Angela Stanford with a birdie on the first playoff hole. The three players finished 54 holes of regulation at 16-under-par 200. Ahn and Stanford each shot 67 on Sunday at Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club while Lee shot 66.
Who didn’t win
Stanford, one of the heroines of this year’s Solheim Cup, came up short in her bid for her first LPGA victory since 2012. The 37-year-old Texan dropped to 1-4 in playoffs, including a loss in the 2003 U.S. Women’s Open. Lee, a longtime Japan LPGA standout, likewise fell short. Second-round leader Jenny Shin (closing 70) finished fourth, one shot out of the playoff, while Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn posted Sunday’s low round, a 64, and finished fifth, a shot further back. American stalwarts Stacy Lewis (closing 68) and Lexi Thompson (69) were in a group tied for sixth at 12 under.
How it happened
Stanford and Ryann O’Toole shot 65s to take the opening-round lead, with O’Toole’s round highlighted by a 108-yard eagle from the rough on the par-4 fourth. Shin, a South Korean who grew up in California and won the 2006 U.S. Girls’ Junior at age 13, shot 65 Saturday to take a one-stroke lead through 36 holes. On Sunday, Shin birdied the first hole to extend her lead but Ahn and Stanford each shot 3 under on the front nine to tie Shin for the lead at the turn. Ahn and Stanford each added two birdies on the back nine while Shin could manage only one. Lee, meanwhile, joined the tie at the top with a birdie at the par-3 17th.