New York, United States: Holding her nerve down the stretch, Park In-bee underlined her status as one of golf’s finest female players with a nail-biting title defence at the Wegmans LPGA Championship.
It was the fifth time the Korean has tasted Major glory and the 11th LPGA Tour title of her glittering career.
Trailing pace-setting Brittany Lincicome by two shots with two holes remaining, Park stepped into overdrive.
She drained a birdie putt at 17 and then holed a 15-footer for par on 18 to tie Lincicome at 11-under 277. The American three-putted for bogey from 35 feet on the last.
With the momentum in her favour, Park then parred the first play-off hole, the 18th, to secure the title in sudden-death for a second year in succession.
“I think it’s very lucky that I actually got an opportunity. I thought I probably won’t get an opportunity with Brittany coming up the last and if she made a par I would not have gone into a play-off,” Park said. “And I holed really good putts on number 17 and 18 to put me in the play-off. I’m just very happy the way I played today.”
Park, who lost in a play-off to Mirim Lee at last week’s LPGA Meijer Classic, was delighted to return to the winner’s circle the final time the LPGA Championship will visit Rochester after 38 years.
“This is probably one of the favourite weeks for me and all the LPGA players. This tournament has the history, and this tournament has all the memories with us,” Park said. “Being able to put my name on this trophy twice and being able to do it in Rochester is such a great honour.”
Lydia Ko, who started the day four back, made a charge at Park and Lincicome in regulation, climbing to within one of the lead heading to the 17th tee, but she bogeyed the final two holes to finish in solo third at eight-under. Azahara Munoz and Anna Nordqvist tied for fourth at six-under.