Park Inbee picks up first win of 2014 in China

March 10, 2014

Takes Ladies European Tour’s World Ladies Championship title by 5 shots 

Park Inbee celebrates her first win of the year. (Courtesy of Mission Hills Country Club - Yonhap)

Park Inbee celebrates her first win of the year. (Courtesy of Mission Hills Hainan – Yonhap)

The No. 1 ranked female golfer in the world, Park Inbee, picked up her first win of 2014 at a Ladies European Tour (LET) tournament in China on Sunday.

Park fired a 6-under 67 in the final round of the Mission Hills World Ladies Championship at the par-73 Mission Hills Hainan’s Blackstone Course, beating world No. 2 Suzann Pettersen of Norway by five shots.

Park shot a 24-under 268 over four rounds, making just five bogeys.

Pettersen, breathing down Park’s neck in the world rankings, began the day tied with Park at 18-under, but shot just 1-under 72 in the final round to finish well behind.

Park set up Sunday’s duel with Pettersen with blistering, bogey-free round of 62 on Saturday. The South Korean wasted little time charging out in front on Sunday, picking up birdies on the first two holes while Pettersen managed only pars on both.

Pettersen couldn’t put up much of a fight as she finished with nine straight pars.

Park enjoyed a historic 2013 season on the LPGA Tour, winning three of the five major championships en route to capturing the Player of the Year honors and the money title. Park won six times overall last year, and has been the No. 1 ranked golfer since April 2013.

This was Park’s first win since the U.S. Women’s Open last June. All of her six wins in 2013 came before July, and Pettersen made a second-half surge to close in on Park in the world rankings.

Pettersen appeared to lose her cool after committing a bogey on the third hole, and Park said the display might have been an early turning point.

South Koreans crowded the leaderboard on Sunday. Ryu So-yeon, world No. 5, finished in third place at 16-under. Korean LPGA Tour members Jang Ha-na and Chun In-gee each shot 13-under to tie for seventh.

Chung Ye-na, the 2013 China LPGA money winner and the Rookie of the Year, had the sole possession of 10th place at 9-under.

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