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Golf: ‘Phenomenal’ Park rounds off bogey-free HSBC win in Singapore

Park In-bee played 72 bogey-free holes to win the eighth HSBC Women’s Champions. Photos: HSBC Getty Images.

Park In-bee played 72 bogey-free holes to win the eighth HSBC Women’s Champions. Photos: HSBC Getty Images.

March 8, 2015: Park In-bee underlined her intention to regain the World No. 1 ranking from Lydia Ko by holding off the 17-year-old for a two-stroke win at the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore, where over 14,000 fans watched the final round on Sunday.

 

Overtaken as No. 1 by Ko in early February, Park will remain No. 2 despite securing a sensational wire-to-wire win with a two-under-par 70 for a 15-under total of 273 and a fourth straight bogey-free round at Sentosa Golf Club.

 

Runner-up Ko, who also carded 70, described Park’s performance as “phenomenal” after the 26-year-old ‘Silent Assassin’ became the fifth successive Korea-born player to win on this year’s LPGA Tour.

 

Ko (70), who arrived in Singapore hot off back-to-back wins, caught Park with birdies at four and five before the pair both birdied the seventh. As Park picked up her second birdie at 11, Ko fell away with bogeys at eight, 12 and 13, before recovering with birdies at 15 and 18 to finish 13-under.

 

Stacy Lewis (72) – the third member of Sunday’s all-star final group – was level with Ko heading to the last, but the World No. 3 bogeyed the par-five to finish 11-under.

 

Over 14,000 fans watched the action on Sunday, when the world’s top three played in the final flight.

Over 14,000 fans watched the action on Sunday, when the world’s top three played in the final flight.

Park even impressed herself with her first LPGA title of the year and the 13th of her career following a stunning performance by the Las Vegas-based Korean.

 

“This week was just incredible. Especially being able to do it wire‑to‑wire – that’s a big accomplishment for me. I think I’ve probably done that only once before. I think it’s a lot harder to do wire‑to‑wire, to have pressure every day since Thursday, than come from behind. It’s something I should be really proud of,” Park said.

 

“I don’t think I can even believe myself that I didn’t make any bogeys for 72 holes. I’d say tee‑to‑green was probably 10 out of 10. I missed a couple of greens every day, but got up‑and‑down from there. Tee‑to‑green was just perfect.

 

“I don’t think anybody else played a better long game than me this week, that’s for sure. I think my putting still has a little bit to go, but it was probably seven or eight out of 10.”

 

Now in her ninth year on the LPGA after qualifying through the 2006 Symetra Tour, Park was also delighted to win a tournament that had long seemed ill-suited to her game, at least until the venue switch in 2013 to Sentosa, where she tied for fourth last year.

 

“It feels great because I thought Singapore wasn’t the place that I could win a tournament, because every year has just been really hard to me,” said Park, who won US$210,000 to move to third on this year’s LPGA money list with US$318,148.

 

“Last year was the first time I actually had a good finish and that gave me a lot of confidence. And since they changed the golf course to Sentosa (in 2013), it seems like I was posting little better numbers.”

 

Lydia Ko challenged Park at Sentosa Golf Club, but ultimately finished runner-up after back-to-back victories.

Lydia Ko challenged Park at Sentosa Golf Club, but ultimately finished runner-up after back-to-back victories.

Park’s numbers and performance were not lost on Ko, who paid tribute to the champion.

 

“She played great all week,” Ko said. “On a course where you can hit a good shot and you can get bad luck, she made no bogeys. That’s pretty phenomenal.”

 

Park won her first LPGA title at the 2008 US Women’s Open, but had to wait four years for her next title. She won twice in 2012, six times in 2013 and three times last year to earn over US$2 million for three straight seasons and is ninth on the LPGA career money list with US$10,269,132.

 

China No. 1 Feng Shanshan (69), Korea’s Ryu So-yeon (70) and Spain’s Azahara Munoz (71) shared fourth on 10-under on a star-studded leaderboard, which helped attract a tournament-record four-day attendance of 29,038.

 

Park In-bee: LPGA Victories (13)

2008 U.S. Women’s Open

2012 Evian Masters

2012 Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia

2013 Honda LPGA Thailand

2013 Kraft Nabisco Championship

2013 North Texas LPGA Shootout

2013 Wegmans LPGA Championship

2013 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship

2013 U.S. Women’s Open

2014 Manulife Financial LPGA Classic

2014 Wegmans LPGA Championship

2014 Fubon LPGA Taiwan Championship

2015 HSBC Women’s Champions

 

Source: LPGA (www.lpga.com); Editing by SportAsia

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