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Ernst downs Kim to collect first tour win



Portland, OR (SportsNetwork.com) - Austin Ernst made par on the first playoff hole on Sunday to defeat I.K. Kim and win the Portland Classic.

Ernst closed with a 5-under 67. She ended at 14-under-par 274. Kim posted a 4- under 68 to join Ernst at minus-14.

The pair returned to the 18th hole at Columbia Edgewater Country Club and both found the fairway off the tee. Kim's approach stopped in the right fringe before Ernst found the green.

Kim played her third to about six feet. Ernst, whose previous best tour finish came at this event last year, saw her birdie try roll past the left edge of the cup.

Ernst knocked in her par effort and stepped aside to watch Kim. The three-time LPGA Tour winner missed her par attempt to give Ernst her first LPGA Tour title.

"I actually was surprised I wasn't extremely nervous all day. I did a really good job of just kind of slowing myself down," admitted Ernst. "

Chella Choi (68) and So Yeon Ryu (70) shared third place at minus-12.

Karine Icher fired a 6-under 66 on Sunday. She ended alongside Na Yeon Choi (68), Eun-Hee Ji (70) and Line Vedel (70) in fifth place at 11-under 277.

Mi Jung Hur, the 2009 winner, shared the third-round leader with two-time winner Suzann Pettersen and Carlota Ciganda. Hur stumbled to a 1-over 73 to slide into a tie for ninth at 10-under 278, while Pettersen and Ciganda were one stroke worse at minus-9 after shooting 74s in the final round.

After three straight pars to open her round, Ernst birdied the fourth and came right back with an eagle on the par-5 fifth. That gave her a 1-stroke lead over Ryu.

At the seventh, the next par-5, Ernst converted another birdie chance. She also birdied the ninth to make the turn at minus-14. Hur joined Ernst in the lead with her fourth birdie in five holes at the seventh.

Hur had six bogeys, including three in a row to end her round, and two birdies over her final 10 holes to fall from the lead.

Ernst birdied the 12th to move two ahead of Chella Choi and Hur. Ernst also birdied No. 14 to get to minus-16. She faltered to bogeys on the final two holes, but managed to earn the win in the playoff.

"Actually didn't get too down, even though I bogeyed the last two, I actually made a really good putt for bogey on 17. And then those are probably two of the hardest holes on the course," said Ernst. "The finish is pretty tough out here."

Kim parred four in a row to start her round. She birdied the fifth and seventh, both par-5s, to move to 12-under.

After four consecutive pars from the eighth, Kim birdied the 12th. She later birdied the 15th to move to 14-under. Kim parred the last three holes to join Ernst minus-14.

"I'm happy, but I played a lot of playoffs and I haven't won one yet. So that was in the back of my mind. But she deserves it," said Kim, who fell to 0-4 in playoffs.

NOTES: Ernst collected $195,000 for her first tour win ... She finished ninth at this event last year ... Pettersen, last year's winner, double-bogeyed the second and was unable to recover from there ... After a week off, Pettersen will again defend her title at the final major of the year, the Evian Championship.

08/31 23:25:19 ET

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