Golf: Park Inbee wins HSBC Women's Champions

Golf: Park Inbee wins HSBC Women's Champions

On a day that celebrated women internationally, Park Inbee showed world No. 1 Lydia Ko yesterday that the 17-year-old teenager is no longer a girl, but not yet a woman.

While consistency has been the New Zealander's hallmark as she displaced the South Korean at the top of the women's world rankings last month, Park was flawless

over 72 holes in the four-day HSBC Women's Champions at the Sentosa Golf Club's Serapong course. The world No. 2 carded a two-under 70 on International Women's Day to win the tournament with a 15-under 273 total.

Said Park, 26, who tasted victory in this tournament for the first time in eight attempts: "It feels great, I thought Singapore wasn't a place that I could win a tournament, because it has been hard for me every year.

"This week was just incredible. I don't think I can even believe myself that I didn't make any bogeys for 72 holes.

"If I thought about making bogeys, or was afraid of them, I'd probably have made some. But I thought: whatever happens, it's just meant to be.''

"I just tried to focus on my game and not think about so many other things," added Park, who "wasn't that nervous" despite having Ko and world No. 3 Stacy Lewis breathing down her neck yesterday.

"I'd say from tee to green it was probably 10 out of 10 points for me. I don't think anybody else played a better long game than me this week, that's for sure."

Ko, who started the day tied on second place with Lewis on 11 under, shared the lead with Park between the fifth and seventh holes after posting birdies on the fourth, fifth and seventh holes.

But she slipped after a bogey on the eighth.

The error allowed Park, who had birdies on the seventh and 11th holes, to canter to a two-shot victory for the US$210,000 ($290,000) top purse.

Ko said: "On this course it's not that hard to lose shots. There were some lip-outs and so many close ones.

"Inbee finished this tournament with no bogeys and that's pretty impressive. She was playing consistently... and I just hit a couple of loose shots.''

"But I'm pretty pleased with the way I finished," added the world No. 1, who had two birdies and two bogeys in the back nine, and finished second with 275.

Stacy Lewis was two strokes adrift of Ko on 277.

For Park, extra motivation also came from a friendly wager with her father Park Gun Gyu.

She said: "I've always told him that this is such a hard course, and I'll just be happy if I shoot under par.

And he said, 'If you make a birdie, I'll give you $500, but if you bogey, you have to pay me double'.

BET

"I took the bet, thinking maybe even if I made bogey, he was not going to take my money.

"It was so fun, something motivating and something else to concentrate on (other than the tournament itself)."

"I don't think he'll pay me today, he ran out of money since yesterday," she added, laughing.

Winning the tournament while being on the same flight as Ko and Lewis on the final day has also given Park a psychological advantage in her bid to regain her world No. 1 status this year.

Park said: "It's not a pairing I really looked forward to playing in the final round, it's the toughest pairing I'd probably have all year.

"Actually breaking out from that and winning gives me a little bit more motivation... I haven't played so many times with Lydia before, especially in the final round.

"I thought she doesn't make any mistakes, but I definitely saw her making a couple of mistakes today, and thought she is actually human.

"So that gives me a bit of room and I can catch up to her a bit."

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