After a year’s absence, Inbee Park picked a heck of a way to storm back into the winner’s circle Sun- day, setting an LPGA final round record for a winner with a blistering 10-under-par 61 to come from two strokes behind entering the final round to secure her first win of the season at the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic.
Park finished at 23-under-par 261, three shots clear of Cristie Kerr in second.
Her career-low and course record 61 matched the third round of Hee Young Park, the 2013 champion, from a year ago, but Park’s came when it mattered most.
Park trailed by two to Shanshan Feng entering Sunday but tied Feng with her fourth birdie of the day on No. 7 and took the lead on No. 8 with another birdie. She wouldn’t let up from there, making birdies on four of the first five holes on the back nine to pull away. She capped off the round with a birdie at the last to finish off the 61. Feng finished in sole possession of third at 18-under-par after a final-round 68.
Kerr mentioned after her round on Saturday that she thought the course was ripe for someone to go really low and come up and take the title and she nearly did Sunday. Her final-round 63 tied the second low round of the day and would have been the low round of the tournament for the first three days. Naturally, she was flummoxed that 8-under-par wasn’t enough to even really give her a chance coming down the stretch on Sunday.
Park’s win is her first of the season after winning six tournaments, including three majors a year ago, and the third year in a row she’s notched a win.
The win comes on the heels of losing her No. 1 ranking to Stacy Lewis a week ago, and she said pro- vided the extra motivation she needed.
But more than the added motivation, it was her putting. She’s first on the tour in putting for the year but thought her putting had held her back in some tournaments that she could have won. It definitely didn’t on Sunday, using the flat stick a mere 25 times. On the week, she averaged only 27 putts – best in the field.
Stacy Lewis’ first week holding the No. 1 ranking didn’t go how she planned, but she finished on a strong note, tying for second best round of the day with a 8-under 63 to backdoor her way to a tie for 6th.
Lewis will join Cristie Kerr as only the second American since the Rolex Rankings were established in 2006 to enter the U.S. Women’s Open No. 1 in the world. Park narrowed the gap but based off of projections, Lewis should still hold a narrow lead for No. 1 in the world entering the year’s second major championship.
EAGLES FOR A CAUSE
“Wounded Warrior Project® Weekends” is a season-long charity program that will be tied into the Race to the CME Globe. Each Saturday and Sunday at LPGA tournaments, CME Group will donate $1,000 to Wounded
Warrior Project® for each eagle that is recorded. This amount will increase to $5,000 for each eagle during the weekend of the CME Group Tour Championship and a formal check will be presented to the Wounded Warrior Project® during the trophy ceremony at the CME Group Tour Championship.
Today, 5 eagles were recorded to go along with the 7 from Saturday. It brings the total money raised this year to $163,000. Through the first 14 tournaments prior to the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic, $151,000 had been raised.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Yea, you think I’m motivated now?
- Inbee Park on if losing the No. 1 ranking was a motivating factor
Runner-up this week Cristie Kerr thanked fellow tour player, Nicole Castrale, for lending her a caddie this week. Castrale’s husband, Craig, looped for Kerr in Waterloo.
Ladies Golf Total Scores:-
1 INBEE PARK -23
2 CRISTIE KERR -20
3 SHANSHAN FENG -18
T4 BELEN MOZO -16
T4 LYDIA KO -16
T6 STACY LEWIS -15
T6 MICHELLE WIE -15
T8 CHELLA CHOI -14
T8 SUZANN PETTERSEN -14
T10 CAROLINE MASSON -13
T10 SO YEON RYU -13
T10 HEE YOUNG PARK -13
T10 ANNA NORDQVIST -13
T15 CATRIONA MATTHEW -11
Source: LPGA Tour