Published : 2013-02-24 19:34
Updated : 2013-02-24 19:34
South Korean golfer Park In-bee captured the Honda LPGA Thailand with a near-flawless final round of play on Sunday, erasing a four-shot deficit for her first win of the season.
Park shot a five-under 67 on Sunday at Siam Country Club's Pattaya Old Course for a four-round total of 12-under 276, beating Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand by one shot. Park mixed in six birdies with a bogey.
Jutanugarn, 17, stood on the 18th tee with a two-stroke advantage over Park, 24, but committed a disastrous triple bogey to hand the trophy over to the Korean.
Jutanugarn shot an even-par 72 for her final round, which included a hole-in-one on the par-3 13th.
Park, who took home US$225,000 for the winner's check, is the second South Korean to win on the LPGA Tour in two weeks. Last weekend, Shin Ji-yai won the first event of the season at the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open.
Park poured in four birdies on the front nine and drew even with Jutanugarn with a birdie on the par-5 10th. The Korean then took a one-stroke lead with another birdie on the 12th.
Jutanugarn opened her day with a birdie and looked to be in control after her second birdie of the day on the fifth. She slipped with her first bogey of the day on the eighth and allowed Park to pull even on the back nine.
Jutanugarn went back up by one with the ace on the 12th while Park settled for par after finding trouble on the 13th.
Jutanugarn had a birdie on the 13th to take a two-shot lead at 15-under. She had a bogey on the next hole but Park also committed a bogey on the 14th, allowing Jutanugarn to stay in front by two.
With Park, having finished her day a group ahead of the Thai, watching from the club house, Jutanugarn suffered a meltdown on the
par-5 18th. After a botched chip from the back of the green, she missed a downhill putt for a bogey for the win, and then missed the next putt from a shorter distance that would have set up a playoff with Park.
The improbable ending left even the winner in disbelief.
"I had a strong round and I thought it wasn't enough," Park said. "I am still very shocked. I don't know what to say. But it happens -- It's golf."
South Koreans collected eight victories, including three of the tour's four majors, in 2012. Park won twice last year and led the LPGA Tour in money and scoring average.
The tour moves to Singapore next week for the HSBC Women's Champions. The season's first event in the U.S. will be RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup from March 14 to 17. (Yonhap News)