SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Jang Ha-na spent most of the week peppering the flags with exquisite approach shots and sinking monster putts, and after dancing like Beyonce following her HSBC Women’s Champions victory on Sunday, the Korean was already setting new goals.
Jang started the day one ahead of the pack but stormed clear on the back nine to close with a seven-under-par 65 for a 19-under total, capping the four-shot win with a gutsy eagle on the par-five 18th when she took on the lake with a fairway wood.
“That was a mistake actually,” she told reporters. “I was just trying to take it right of the bunker but missed. I was saying ‘don’t hit the tree, just get on the green’ and when it landed I was like ‘what an amazing shot’.”
The 23-year-old started the year by becoming the first player on the LPGA Tour to score a hole-in-one on a par-four and backed it up with a maiden victory in Florida last month, that time celebrating with a self-styled ‘Samurai-lasso’ dance.
Such is Jang’s confidence that despite failing to win in her 2015 rookie year, the Korean set herself a target of two victories this season and has fulfilled her aims after just five tournaments.
“I’m very excited right now, I’ve been very comfortable this week and really enjoyed this tournament,” Jang said.
“My target in 2016 was two wins but I’m there already, so going to change my target to two more wins as I’m very comfortable right now.”
Jang played superbly around the demanding Serapong Course, going bogey-free for 50 holes from the 14th on Thursday, her patient approach a far cry from a difficult rookie campaign, when four runner-up finishes left her hugely frustrated.
“I think I was guilty of thinking too much when I was on the course,” she admitted.
“But I made a little change in the winter to be a little more relaxed and patient. It worked in my first tournament this season in the Bahamas, which was very good.
“Then I got my first win, followed it with two top-10s and all the time I was comfortable and I was more comfortable here, it’s very exciting.”
The fast start to the season will take Jang up to fifth in the next world rankings and while she is trying her hardest to avoid thoughts of the Olympics, number one position or order of merit standings, she insists the rapid rise has not scared her.
“I don’t really get afraid of anything,” she added with a grin.
“I’m not afraid of the other players I just play my own game and make sure I enjoy my life every day, every week. Although I am maybe a little scared of being bitten by mosquitoes.”
Reporting by John O'Brien; editing by Sudipto Ganguly