Park storms to five-shot win in Founders Cup

2018-03-19 07:47
golf, park in-bee
Park In-Bee (Getty Images)

Los Angeles - South Korea's Park In-bee stormed to victory in the LPGA Founders Cup on Sunday, firing a bogey-free five-under par 67 for a five-stroke triumph. 

Park, a seven-time major champion, birdied four straight holes on the back nine and finished with a 19-under par total of 269. 

England's Laura Davies, 54, headed a group sharing second on 274, her bid to become the oldest winner of an LPGA title ending with a final-round 69 at Wildfire Golf Club in Phoenix, Arizona. 

Davies was tied with Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn, who closed with a two-under 70, and American Marina Alex, who carded a 68. 

Park captured her 19th LPGA Tour title, and her first since March 2017 at the HSBC Women's Championship. 

She teed it up this week for just the second time since a seven-month break, during which she contemplated retirement. 

"It feels great, especially after the long break I didn't know how I'd be able to compete," Park said. "Being able to contend and win is a great feeling." 

Park played the weekend without a bogey. She was in the lead after a 63 on Saturday, and opened with a birdie at the first. 

She then parred her next 10 holes as Davies pulled to within one stroke. 

But Park pulled away with birdies at 12, 13, 14 and 15 to take command. 

She moved into a tie for 28th on the all-time LPGA wins list and now has a win in six of the last seven seasons. The year she didn't win - 2016 - was the same year she won Olympic Gold in Rio de Janeiro. 

Davies, who powered into contention with a 63 on Saturday, was seeking her first LPGA title since the 2001 Rochester Invitational. 

In her 32nd LPGA campaign, Davies admitted she was feeling the nerves on the first tee as a long-awaited win beckoned. 

"It's about as nervous as I've ever felt," she said. "I nearly shanked it. 

"It was a bogey, but then I chipped in for eagle at the second and it calmed me down." 

Davies would add three more birdies before a bogey at 18 cost her sole possession of second place. 

Nevertheless, she was more than pleased with her week. 

"It would have been huge," she said of a win. "Not having won for God knows how many years on the LPGA, it would have been huge. 

"But I'm actually quite pleased. It's a great finish for me. I was four-over after six (holes) on the first day, so just to get into this position is amazing." 

Davies' tie for second was her best finish since the 2007 Honda LPGA Thailand, where she also finished second. 

"Maybe now people will ask me when I'm going to retire," joked Davies. "I can just tell them I finished second last week."

Leading fourth-round scores on Sunday in the LPGA Founders Cup at Phoenix, Arizona (USA unless noted):

269 - Park In-bee (KOR) 68-71-63-67

274 - Laura Davies (ENG) 73-69-63-69, Marina Alex 70-66-70-68, Ariya Jutanugarn (THA) 68-68-68-70

275 - Chun In-gee (KOR) 71-69-69-66, Megan Khang 71-71-65-68

276 - Ally McDonald 74-69-65-68, Erynne Lee 71-70-67-68, Chella Choi (KOR) 67-72-66-71, Mariajo Uribe (COL) 68-68-67-73

277 - Amy Olson 72-70-66-69, Amy Yang (KOR) 71-71-66-69, Karine Icher (FRA) 67-69-72-69, Caroline Inglis 71-68-68-70, Park Hee-young (KOR) 68-70-69-70

278 - Bae Seon-woo (KOR) 70-70-70-68, Austin Ernst 73-69-67-69, Tiffany Joh 70-72-64-72, Brittany Lincicome 72-66-68-72

279 - Bronte Law (CAN) 71-69-71-68, Ji Eun-hee (KOR) 71-69-71-68, Catriona Matthew (SCO) 71-71-68-69, Dani Holmqvist (SWE) 69-71-70-69, Lindy Duncan 71-69-68-71, Jodi Ewart Shadoff (ENG) 70-71-66-72

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