South Korean Park Sung-hyun has captured the oldest major championship in women's golf.
The 23-year-old LPGA rookie won the US Women's Open at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, on Sunday (local time), thanks to an impressive final round of five-under 67. At 11-under 277, Park defeated South Korean amateur Choi Hye-jin by two strokes to claim her first major title.
Park, an LPGA rookie who previously dominated the Korea LPGA Tour, is the eighth South Korean winner of the US Women's Open. This was the 72nd edition of the championship.
|In this Associated Press photo, Park Sung-hyun of South Korea hoists the winner's trophy after capturing the US Women's Open at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, on July 16, 2017. (Yonhap)|
She is now the eighth different South Korean champion in 19 LPGA events this year. They've combined for nine wins.
This was also Park's first LPGA win anywhere. She had four top-10s in her previous 13 events this year.
At last year's US Women's Open, Park, then playing as a nonmember, held the 36-hole lead, but finished 74-74 to finish two shots out of the playoff. She was one off the lead going to the 72nd hole, where she made a bogey.
This year, Park was seven shots out of first place after two rounds but shot 67-67 for the victory.
"This still feels so unreal," Park said in a televised interview after her round. "Even though I was far off the lead, I still thought I had a chance. My goal was to post a better result than last year, and I am really pleased that I won."
|In this Associated Press photo, Park Sung-hyun of South Korea watches her tee shot on the fourth hole during the final round of the US Women's Open at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, on July 16, 2017. (Yonhap)|
With US President Donald Trump, owner of the golf course, watching, Park claimed the outright lead at 10-under by draining a 20-foot birdie putt at the par-five 15th.
Another birdie at the par-four 17th, the most difficult hole of the round, took Park to 11-under, a two-shot lead over Feng Shanshan heading into the final hole.
Park found a bit of trouble at the par-five 18th, where her third shot flew over the green. But she hit a deft bump-and-run to put the ball to within tap-in range and closed out her final round with an easy par.
Park started the day at six-under, three shots back of the leader, Feng of China. And Park played in the second-to-last group with fellow South Korean Amy Yang, while Feng and Choi were in the final pairing.
Park had three birdies against a bogey to go out at eight-under. And as Yang faded away badly with four bogeys over the first 10 holes, Park found herself tied for the lead at nine-under with Feng and Choi down the stretch.
Park moved ahead of the pack with the birdie at the 15th. Choi also birdied the 15th to reach 10-under but dunked her tee shot into the water at the par-three 16th en route to a disastrous double bogey that took her out of contention.
Feng was still in the hunt with a string of seven straight pars on the back nine, though Park gave herself some breathing room at the 17th after an outstanding second shot.
One of the longest hitters on the tour, Park flashed her short game skills at the final hole to complete her second consecutive round of 67.
Watching the play unfold before her, Feng needed to hole out for an eagle just to force a playoff with Park. The Chinese instead hit her approach long, and the bottom fell out from there, as she walked away with a triple bogey at the 18th.
On the leaderboard that looked straight out of a Korean Women's Open, eight South Koreans finished inside the top 10, including ties.
World No. 1 Ryu So-yeon tied Hur Mi-jung for third at seven-under. Lee Jeong-eun ended in a three-way tied for fifth at six-under. And it was Yang, Lee Mi-rim and Kim Sei-young all knotted at five-under, good for a tie for eighth place. (Yonhap)