Golf: Jang's albatross a slice of LPGA history

South Korea's Jang Ha Na kissed the ground after her albatross on the eighth hole at the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic on Saturday.
South Korea's Jang Ha Na kissed the ground after her albatross on the eighth hole at the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic on Saturday. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

PARADISE ISLAND (Bahamas) • Playing on the aptly-named Paradise Island, South Korean Jang Ha Na delivered a utopian sporting moment.

Her three-wood shot at the 218-yard eighth hole bounced in front of the green before rolling into the cup for the first albatross on a par-four in recorded LPGA history.

Jang said she did not witness the ball go into the hole at the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic on Saturday.

But she realised something good had happened when her father, who was standing near the green, thrust his arms into the air.

Jang jumped up and down at the tee box, before walking towards the hole. At the green, the 23-year-old dropped to her knees, bowed, and kissed the ground at the Ocean Club course.

"It was so unbelievable," she told the Golf Channel after carding a five-under 68. "Right now, my heartbeat is a little fast."

A hole-in-one on a par-four is understood to have happened just once on the PGA Tour, when Andrew Magee got the ball from tee to cup in a stroke at the 2001 Phoenix Open.

Jang's ace lifted her from three under to six under for the tournament. She ended the day on seven-under 212 - in a tie for 13th alongside Thailand's Pornanong Phatlum (69) and Japan's Haru Nomura (74).

The trio are five shots behind co-leaders Anna Nordqvist (68) of Sweden and English teenager Charley Hull (69), who were on 207.

"Awesome day today," added Jang, who had birdies either side of her albatross in what was a blemish-free round.

Her ace was all the more impressive, given the strong breezes that buffeted players all day.

In the unpredictable winds, Nordqvist said patience was the key.

"I hit the ball really well today and just tried to judge the wind there at the end and stay patient," she said. "And I made two birdies the last four holes, so I'm really happy with the round."

Hull, who has co-led after every round, missed a short putt on her opening hole, but regrouped and putted well the rest of the way on the tricky greens in the LPGA season opener.

"There are a few spike marks out there, but you just have to keep your head down and get the ball the rolling," said the 19-year-old.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 01, 2016, with the headline 'Jang's albatross a slice of LPGA history'. Print Edition | Subscribe