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South Korean Park takes wire-to-wire LPGA Kia Classic win

LPGA Hall of Famer Park In-bee of South Korea fired a two-under par 70 on Sunday to win the Kia Classic by 5 strokes for her twenty first profession LPGA title.

Park, a seven-time main winner and the 2016 Olympic champion, completed on 14-under 274 after 72 holes at Aviara, north of San Diego.

In her first occasion of the season, Park shocked herself and onlookers with an overwhelming efficiency.

“It was a great week,” Park stated. “It was my first week back in three months or so. I played so good. I couldn’t believe how well I was doing out there.

“I got here right here to arrange for subsequent week and I exceeded (my expectations) — a lot extra.”

Americans Lexi Thompson and Amy Olson shared second on 279. South Korean Ko Jin-young, the world number one, was fourth on 280 with South Korea’s eighth-ranked Kim Hyo-joo and 10th-ranked Australian Minjee Lee shared fifth on 281.

Park, 32, was a wire-to-wire winner without ties for the first time in her LPGA career after leading by five strokes when the day began.

It was Park’s first victory since last year’s Women’s Australian Open just before the LPGA shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Park moved four shy of matching legend Park Se-ri for the most career LPGA titles by a South Korean with 25.

“It’s any individual I at all times seemed as much as rising up,” Park said. “She’s at all times massive in my coronary heart. Trying to observe in her footsteps is a giant factor. I’m glad I’m geting shut.”

World number four Park dominated an event that featured the world’s 14 top-ranked players, a final tuneup for the ANA Inspiration, the LPGA’s first major tournament of 2021, which starts Thursday at Rancho Mirage, California.

Park birdied the par-4 seventh and ninth holes and added her third in four holes at the par-5 10th. She stumbled with back-to-back bogeys at 12 and 13 but answered with an eagle 2 at the 16th and not even a bogey at the last could deflate her victory.

“I felt some stress right now, particularly on the again 9,” Park said. “I do not know why. I had fairly a little bit of cushion. I made a few errors. The eagle on 16 was an amazing eagle for me.”

Park is at the moment in place to qualify for the South Korean ladies’s Olympic group and an opportunity at defending her gold medal in Tokyo.


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