USGA CHAMPIONS
Eun-Hee Ji Aces Another Test March 26, 2018 | Liberty Corner, N.J. By David Shefter, USGA

Eun Hee Ji, the 2009 U.S. Women's Open champion, used an ace on the 14th hole on Sunday to earn her fourth LPGA Tour title. (USGA/Chris Keane)

When Eun-Hee Ji converted a 20-foot putt on the 72nd hole at Saucon Valley Country Club nine years ago, it was a career-altering moment.

When Ji aced the 14th hole at Aviara Golf Club in Carlsbad, Calif., on Sunday en route to winning the Kia Classic by two strokes, the 31-year-old from the Republic of Korea continued her career makeover.

Ji’s victory drought between the 2009 U.S. Women’s Open and the Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship last October spanned eight years. She only needed six additional starts to post her second victory in the last five months.

She accomplished the feat in style, using a 7-iron to ace the 156-yard 14th hole to fend off 2007 U.S. Women’s Open champion Cristie Kerr, and Lizette Salas. Before the hole-in-one, Ji had seen her final-round lead cut from four strokes to one.

“I hit it pretty well today,” said Ji, who now owns four LPGA Tour victories and eight professional wins. “I am driving the ball really nice. I holed nice putts.”

Ji, who edged 2001 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links champion Candie Kung by a stroke to win her U.S. Women’s Open title, closed with a 5-under 67 and finished the 72-hole tournament at 16-under 272.

Jane Park, the 2004 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion, tied for fourth at 13-under 275, along with 2005 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion I.K. Kim.

Redman Defeated in Georgia Cup

For the past 20 years, the Golf Club of Georgia in Alpharetta has hosted the Georgia Cup, an 18-hole match between the reigning U.S. Amateur and British Amateur champions. U.S. Amateur champion Doc Redman, who rallied to beat Doug Ghim last August in 37 holes at The Riviera Country Club, lost to Harry Ellis, of England, 6 and 5, on Sunday.

It was the fifth time in the last six years that the British Amateur victor prevailed over the U.S. Amateur champ, with Gunn Yang (2015) and Peter Uihlein (2011) being the only U.S. Amateur winners in the last eight years.

Redman and Ellis will be competing in the upcoming Masters and are exempt into the 118th U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills in June.

David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Email him at dshefter@usga.org.

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