Mexico's Lopez wins maiden LPGA crown with China victory

Gaby Lopez of Mexico dedicated her victory to her late grandfather.
Gaby Lopez of Mexico dedicated her victory to her late grandfather.
Image: STR / AFP

Mexico's 136th-ranked Gaby Lopez celebrated the biggest victory of her career on Saturday when she triumphed at the $2.1 million (R30.01) Blue Bay LPGA in China.

An emotional Lopez beat off world number one Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand and a late challenge from France's Celine Boutier for her maiden victory on the US-based LPGA Tour.

Lopez carded a final-round 73 to go eight under for the tournament on the island of Hainan - where wind has been a factor all week - and a one-stroke win.

She was drenched in water by her rivals by way of celebration and wiped away tears at the end.

Lopez had marked her 25th birthday on Friday by hitting a hole-in-one at the 17th and grabbing the third-round lead.

She dedicated the career-changing victory to her late grandfather.

"My grandpa passed away a couple of weeks ago. I always told him that I was going to give him my first trophy," Lopez said.

"Sadly I didn't, but he was with me all week long and I couldn't be more lucky, more fortunate, to have him still alive in me."

Jutanugarn finished second on seven under and Boutier, ranked 150th in the world, was third, a further shot back, after shooting a sparkling six-under-par 66.

There was a tie for fourth between Danielle Kang of the United States and South Korea's Kim Sei-young.