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Koreans fail to match milestone winning run on LPGA Tour

South Korean contenders came up short of matching a milestone winning streak on the LPGA Tour on Sunday in Oregon.

Kim In-kyung lost to Austin Ernst on the first hole of their sudden death playoff at the Portland Classic at the par-72 Columbia Edgewater Country Club.

Kim was trying to become the fourth consecutive South Korean winner on the LPGA Tour. Three other South Koreans, Lee Mi-rim, Park In-bee and Ryu, had taken the past three LPGA tournaments.

The last time South Koreans won on the tour for four weeks in a row was in 2010. Kim was one of seven South Koreans in the top 10.

Kim and Ernst ended the regulation tied at 14-under 274. Ernst, former NCAA individual champ, was 16-under through 16 holes thanks to five birdies and an eagle, but bogeyed the two final holes. Kim put together a bogey-free final round of 68.

The two players went back to the 18th hole for the playoff.

Both reached the fairway off the tee. From there, Kim missed the green to the right while Ernst put her second shot on the green, well right of the hole.

Kim's chip went long, and Ernst lagged her first putt to a tap-in range. The American holed out and then watched Kim miss her par putt to end the playoff.

Kim remains winless since November 2011 and has never won in five LPGA playoffs. This was Ernst's first LPGA win in 42 career starts.

The final round began with four South Koreans in the top 10.

Hur Mi-jung was tied for the lead at 11-under with Suzann Pettersen and Carlota Ciganda. Kim In-kyung and Ryu So-yeon were one shot off the lead, while Ji Eun-hee was sitting at 9-under in a five-way tie for seventh.

Yet Ernst came out of nowhere to take the lead early, picking up a birdie and an eagle on the fourth and fifth holes.

South Korean contenders scrambled to keep up with the American but fell by the wayside as only Kim stood her ground. Hur suffered through her worst round of the tournament with a 73, mixing in seven bogeys with six birdies, to end in ninth place at 10-under.

Ryu had a chance to join Kim and Ernst in the playoff, but put her second shot into water on the 18th hole en route to a double bogey. She ended up at 12-under and tied for third with fellow South Korean Chella Choi.

Ji and Choi Na-yeon tied for fifth at 11-under, while Lee Il-hee joined Hur in ninth place. (Yonhap)