Park fi­nally vic­to­ri­ous at U.S. Women’s Open

Trump gives South Korean thumbs-up fol­low­ing her win over Feng and Choi

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - TOM CANA­VAN

BED­MIN­STER, N.J. — Sung Hyun Park gave away the U.S. Women’s Open a year ago with a cou­ple of bad rounds on the week­end. The South Korean didn’t make the same mis­take this year.

Park shot her sec­ond straight 5un­der 67 on Sun­day and won a fi­nal-round bat­tle with front-run­ning Shan­shan Feng and teenage am­a­teur Hye-Jin Choi at Trump Na­tional Golf Club for her first LPGA Tour vic­tory.

Park birdied the 15th to move into a tie for the lead and the 17th to open a two-shot edge, af­ter Choi made a dou­ble bo­gey on the pre­vi­ous hole. Park fin­ished at 11-un­der 277 for a two-stroke win over Choi.

U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump at­tended the big­gest event in women’s golf for the third straight day. There was a peace­ful protest af­ter he ar­rived at his box near the 15th green shortly af­ter 3 p.m.

Park needed a fine chip from over the green on the par-5 18th hole to save par and win the $900,000 top prize from the $5 mil­lion event.

Walk­ing to the scor­ing tent to sign her card, she got a thumbs-up from Trump from his box.

Choi closed with a 71 to fin­ish as the low am­a­teur for the sec­ond straight year. She was 38th in 2016.

Top-ranked So Yeon Ryu (70) and fel­low South Korean Mi Jung Hur (68) tied for third at 7 un­der. Feng, from China, had a 75 to drop into a tie for fifth at 6 un­der with Spain’s Car­lota Ci­ganda (70) and South Korea’s Jeong Eun Lee (71).

Canada’s Brooke Hen­der­son (71) of Smiths Falls, Ont., tied for 13th at 3 un­der.

South Kore­ans Sei Young Kim (69), Mirim Lee (72) and Amy Yang (75) tied for eighth at 5 un­der. Ma­rina Alex of nearby Wayne, New Jersey, was the best of the Amer­i­can at 4 un­der af­ter a 70. It was the worst fin­ish in the Open for the top Amer­i­can since Paula Creamer was sev­enth in 2012.

Choi was the story for most of the fi­nal round. The 17-year-old had a two-shot lead with nine holes to play and needed a birdie at 15 to re­gain a piece with Park.

The 139-yard, par-3 16th over wa­ter ended her hopes. Her 7-iron landed in the wa­ter to the right of the hole. She ended with a dou­ble bo­gey and ba­si­cally lost her chance of be­com­ing the sec­ond am­a­teur to win the Open.

“At the time I felt that all this work, hard work I put to­gether was go­ing to dis­ap­pear so I was bit dis­ap­pointed but I had to re­fo­cus,” said Choi, who birdied the fi­nal hole but could not col­lect the $540,000 sec­ond prize be­cause of her am­a­teur sta­tus.

Choi’s 279 was the best by an am­a­teur in the Open, four shots bet­ter than the old mark by Grace Park in 1999.

Cather­ine La­coste re­mains the only am­a­teur to win the Open, do­ing it in 1967.

MATT SUL­LI­VAN, GETTY IM­AGES

Sung Hyun Park showed her im­prove­ment this year by putting to­gether a com­plete week­end pack­age.

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