Red-hot put­ter takes In-bee to Women’s Cham­pi­ons ti­tle

New Straits Times - - Sport -

For­mer world num­ber one Park In-bee wielded a red-hot put­ter on her way to a tour­na­ment-record eight-un­der 64 that cat­a­pulted the Korean to a one-shot vic­tory at the HSBC Women’s Cham­pi­ons on Sun­day.

Play­ing in just her sec­ond LPGA Tour event since she was side­lined by thumb surgery last May, Park reeled off eight birdies in 10 holes in the mid­dle of her round to over­haul overnight leader Michelle Wie and pull away from the field.

“I kind of felt like in the mid­dle of the round there, that I could make it from any­where on the green,” Park told re­porters af­ter her 27-putt round at the New Tan­jong Course.

“There was a lit­tle bit of luck, as well. I hit some great putts but there were some a lit­tle off-speed that hit the holes and went in.”

Chased all the way by play­ing part­ner and world num­ber two Ariya Ju­tanu­garn, Park sur­vived a late scare when she duffed a bunker shot to bo­gey the last but fin­ished on 19-un­der-par 269, a shot ahead of the big-hit­ting Thai, who fired a six-un­der 66.

Tal­ented rookie Park Sunghyun was left to rue some way­ward putting as she took third on 16-un­der but the cham­pion, who won Olympic gold in Rio last Au­gust, was im­pec­ca­ble on the greens as she claimed a sec­ond Sin­ga­pore ti­tle in three years.

The day started well for Amer­i­can Wie, who main­tained her overnight two-shot lead as she aimed to claim a first vic­tory since the 2014 US Open, un­til a four-putt dou­ble-bo­gey on the par-five fifth took the wind out of her sails.

As Wie’s progress stalled, the 27-year-old would even­tu­ally fin­ish in a tie for fourth, Park surged clear with Ariya in hot pur­suit when the Korean started her birdie streak on the fifth and had raced three ahead of the chas­ing pack by the 12th.

Ariya cut the lead to two on the next and when her tee-shot on the par-three 17th landed four feet from the pin, the 21-year-old seemed cer­tain to close to within one but Park drained a mon­ster birdie putt to keep the Thai at arm’s length.

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