Golf

Park hits 64 to win Women's World Championship

Red-hot world No. 2 Park Sung Hyun shot a stunning best-of-the-week round of eight-under 64 yesterday to claim a two-stroke victory at the HSBC Women's World Championship.

The 25-year-old South Korean reeled in early leader Australian Minjee Lee by the turn and four birdies on a flawless back nine at the Sentosa Golf Club's New Tanjong Course saw her finish the US$1.5 million (S$2m) tournament at 15 under-par, with Lee back on 13-under after a three-under 69.

"I'm really delighted with my play today... one of the best days that I am playing so far on the LPGA Tour," said Park.

"I didn't think I would win this fast and I'm really happy. I used to have a tough beginning (of the season) in the last years, and this first win is so fast I think I will play really comfortable the rest of my season."

World No. 3 Lee's challenge faltered after a bogey five on the 14th. It handed Park a one-stroke lead which she extended with a further birdie on the 16th.

Tied for third on 11-under were South Korea's Ko Jin Young and Spain's Azahara Munoz, who both had final rounds of 69.

Park is wildly popular among fans in her homeland who follow her around the world in packs, with many this week sporting the message "Shut up and attack" on their shirts.

Not that Park needed any advice as she stayed eerily calm and demonstrated a steely nerve when the pressure was on.

"She's the kind of player who comes around once in a lifetime," said Park's Irish caddie of almost three years David Jones of the double Major winner and former world No. 1.

Lee, 22, had started the day a shot behind overnight leader Ariya Jutanugarn, the world No. 1, but a birdie on the first gave her a share of the lead.

When Ariya found the water for a double bogey on the fourth, the Australian was out in front on her own - until Park started her charge.

A double-bogey seven on the 13th ended Ariya's challenge as the tournament settled into a shootout between Park and Lee.

Park had edged in front and sealed the victory in style with a nerveless 25-foot putt on the 16th for a birdie four. - AFP

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