Korea’s Park Sung Hyun clinched the HSBC Women’s World Championship title with a stunning closing round of eight-under-par 64 at Sentosa Golf Club.
The slender World No 2 nailed nine birdies against just one dropped shot to claim her sixth LPGA title by two shots over Australia’s Minjee Lee.
Tied in eighth place overnight, Park set off as she meant to continue, notching up birdies on the first three holes and a further two on holes six and seven. Dropping a shot on the par-five eighth, it looked for a moment as though the 25-year-old might wobble, but a further four birdies after the turn was too great for the chasing pack, as she carded eight-under for the round.
Speaking after her win, Park said: “I’m really, really, really delighted and happy with my play, and I think today is one of the best days that I am playing so far on the LPGA Tour. I didn’t think I would win this fast and I’m really happy. I am used to having a tough start to the season these last few years, and with this win coming so fast, I think I will play really comfortably for the rest of the year.”
For the first half of the round it looked as though it was going to be Lee’s day. The Australian World No. 3 made three birdies on the front nine but an even par back nine, which included a birdie on 12 followed by bogey on 14, wasn’t enough to keep Park at bay.
It’s the second consecutive week that Lee has finished runner-up, but she was magnanimous with the result. Speaking about Park’s performance, she said:
“I think it was probably coming. She was playing well yesterday, too. Probably all week. She looked like she was hitting it really well. Striking it well. Congratulations to her. Nobody can really go wrong with an eight-under on the final day. She did really good.
“But I feel like I’ve had a really good two weeks, and hopefully it just sets me up for the year.”
Tied in third place, two shots further back at 11-under par were Jin Young Ko of South Korea and Azahara Munoz of Spain. The Spaniard, who lost out to Paula Creamer in a play-off in 2014, played some consistent golf carding 71, 68, 69 and 69 over four rounds.
“I’m really happy. Obviously I really wanted to be in contention. I still played really well today and I’m so happy, three top-fives at the beginning of the year, and I’m going to keep working on the same things and hopefully have a good season,” said Munoz.
For overnight leader, Ariya Jutanugarn, the wait for her first win in Asia continues. The World No. 1 wasn’t able to repeat the kind of form she had shown over the first three rounds. The Thai dropped two shots after hitting the water on the fourth, before picking up a birdie on eight. Despite two birdies on 10 and 11, a second double and two further bogeys on the back nine saw Asia’s biggest prize escape her grasp.
Said Jutanugarn: “It’s always tough, every day. Sung Hyun, she’s such a great golfer; I’m not surprised she shot eight-under because she’s the best to me, so just congratulations to her. She’s great. I just had one bad day, but overall in the week, I did a good job.”
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