Park Wins KPMG Women's PGA Championship
Sung Hyun Park doesn’t show much emotion. But Sunday the Korean showed the world the wide range of emotions she has been experiencing, much like the roller coaster she's been riding this season.
The sixth ranked player in the world outlasted a three-person playoff, defeating So Yeon Ryu and Nasa Hataoka on the second extra hole to win her second major title and fourth career victory on the LPGA Tour. Park rolled in birdie putts on both playoff holes, the second one dropping in at the par 4, 16th hole after a 20-minute weather delay. As she hugged her caddie, David Jones, Park showed an outpouring of emotion that hasn’t been seen in her previous wins. She cried openly on her caddie’s shoulder as all the frustrations of three missed cuts in her last four starts poured out.
Park recorded the only bogey-free round on Sunday at Kemper Lakes Golf Club, carding a 3-under par, 69 to force a playoff. She didn’t make a single bogey on the back nine all week. When she rolled in a long birdie putt at the par 4, 14th hole to pull within one of Ryu, she let her fist fly. It was the most emotion she had displayed all week. Park fist pumped again at the par 4, 16th hole after chopping her ball out of knee high grass in order to make, what would end up being, a critical up and down from near the water just short of the green.
It was the highlight of the championship and evoked memories of another great Korean, Se Ri Pak, who 20-years-ago hit a shot barefoot from a similar lie and inspired a nation.
Park’s par save seemed omniscient, as Ryu found the water off the tee at the par 3, 17th hole and made double-bogey to drop back into a tie with Park. At the 72nd hole Park let a birdie putt slide by that would have given her the outright win.
Park is just the third Korean to win the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, joining a short list that includes two of the game’s greats in Pak and Inbee Park.
The win is Park’s second of the season. She won the weather-shortened Volunteers of America LPGA Texas Classic in May.