SPORTS

S. Korean Park In-bee completes LPGA career grand slam with Women's British Open

By KH디지털2
  • Published : Aug 3, 2015 - 09:31
  • Updated : Aug 3, 2015 - 18:09

South Korean golfer Park In-bee completed the career grand slam on the LPGA Tour here Sunday by capturing the Ricoh Women's British Open.

Park rallied to win her seventh career major at 12-under 276, beating fellow South Korean Ko Jin-young by three, thanks to a strong final round of seven-under 65 at Trump Turnberry Resort.

Park, who has now won 16 times on the tour and grabbed six of the past 14 majors, cashed in $450,000 in the winner's check.

Park, ranked first in the world, became only the seventh LPGA golfer to win at least four different majors over a career, joining Louise Suggs, Mickey Wright, Pat Bradley, Juli Inkster, Karrie Webb and Annika Sorenstam.

Those golfers accomplished their feats while the tour had four majors. Since 2013, the tour has had five majors with the Evian Championship joining the rotation.

With Park having earlier won the three other majors over her career -- ANA Inspiration, KPMG Women's PGA Championship and the U.S. Women's Open -- the tour has said winning at least four different majors in the current era would constitute a grand slam, while winning all five would be called 'a super slam.'

Park won the Evian in 2012, one year before it became the fifth major. She can put an end to the lingering debate by taking the Evian title in France next month.

It was Park's fourth win of 2015 and 12th this season by South Koreans, a record for one LPGA season.

Park, 27, said completing the slam was "a dream come true" and "the greatest feat I've accomplished as a pro."

"I am so happy and I don't have words to describe my feelings," she said. "I've been thinking (the career slam) would be the final goal of my career. It's such a huge honor to accomplish it at such a young age."

In 2013, Park won the season's first three majors and entered the British Open with a shot at becoming the first LPGA player to win four consecutive majors in one season. She ended well out of contention then.

Last year, Park opened the final round with a one-stroke lead, but ended in fourth place after committing six bogeys and one double bogey en route to a 77. She later called it "probably the most disappointing tournament" of her career.

Park said she knew she could complete the slam by winning the Evian Championship but added, "I felt I had to win here for the true career slam."

Still in the prime of her career, Park is tied for seventh on the all-time list with seven major titles, just about half way to Patty Berg's all-time record of 15.

  "I haven't thought about other career objectives aside from completing the grand slam," she said. "But if I keep looking up to the legends who've won many more titles than I have, then I should be able to keep moving toward bigger goals."

Park began the final round at five-under, three shots behind co-overnight leaders, Ko Jin-young and Teresa Lu. Park had a quick start with back-to-back birdies on the second and third holes, before giving two shots back right away with bogeys on fourth and fifth holes.

Ko, a 20-year-old Korean LPGA member playing in her first major, parred the first six holes, and then moved to 10-under with an eagle on the par-5 seventh to open a two-shot advantage over the field.

Park poured in four straight birdies starting on the seventh to get to nine-under, but Ko, with a birdie of her own on the 10th, now led Park by three strokes.

The tide turned dramatically over the remaining holes. Playing ahead of Ko, Park picked up an eagle on the par-5 14th, and when Ko committed a bogey on the 13th, the two South Koreans were suddenly tied.

Park went up by one with a birdie on the 16th. Ko then shot herself out of contention with a double bogey on the same hole, after finding a creek in front of the green with her second shot on the par-4 hole.

Ko ended alone in second place at nine-under after a 71, while another South Korean Ryu So-yeon tied South Korean-born New Zealander Lydia Ko for third place at eight-under. (Yonhap)