Singapore: Record crowds at Sentosa witnessed world number two Park In-bee crowned ‘Champion of Champions’ following a flawless victory in the US$1.4 million HSBC Women’s Champions.
The South Korean shot a closing round of two-under 70 to win by two shots from second placed Lydia Ko.
Remarkably, Park completed a fourth consecutive bogey-free round to finish at 15-under-par over the Serapong Course, an Asian Golf Industry Federation Golf Facility Member.
Speaking after being presented with the winner’s cheque for US$210,000, Park said: “It feels great. I thought Singapore wasn’t the place that I could win a tournament. Every year has just been really hard to me but last year was the first year I actually had a good finish and that gave me a lot of confidence.
“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 was afraid of the bogeys, I’d probably make bogeys 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.”
For world number one Ko there was disappointment as she narrowly failed to claim a third successive victory.
Playing aggressively, Ko carded three bogeys and five birdies to match Park’s 70. But it was not quite good enough for the 17-year-old to complete a hat-trick of wins.
Ko said: “I started well, shooting three-under through my first seven holes. Things didn’t go well from eight to 13 – I lost three shots. On this course, it’s not that hard to lose shots. There were some lip‑outs and so many close ones. But I finished well with a birdie on 18.
“I had a great stretch of three weeks and I would have never imagined to have one second place and two wins.”
World number three and 2013 champion Stacy Lewis had to settle for third place after an eventful round during which her ball got stuck in a palm tree on the 12th, necessitating a penalty drop, and also saw a wayward third shot on the 18th find a watery grave.
Tied in fourth place on 10-under were China’s Feng Shanshan, Korean Ryu So-yeon and Spaniard Azahara Munoz.
Guy Kinnings, Global Head of Golf for tournament promoters IMG, an Executive Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation, said: “It was an outstanding performance from In-bee in what was a dream final three-ball for the tournament. Record crowds have enjoyed four fantastic days of world-class golf and lots more besides in the HSBC Interactive Village.
“Our congratulations go to HSBC for all they have done to make this event such a success, and our thanks to all our tournament partners, the LPGA, Sentosa Golf Club and all the fans.”
Low Teo Ping, President of Sentosa Golf Club, added: “We offer our congratulations to In-bee on a very fine victory. Four bogey-free rounds on one of the most testing championship courses in Asia is a score worthy of a true champion and we look forward to seeing her back again at Sentosa.
“Once again it has been a pleasure to welcome the players from the LPGA Tour to our club as well as the thousands of spectators that have made their way through the gates.”