Park continues Korean dominance at China Open
Updated: 2015-12-15 08:00
By Chen Xiangfeng(China Daily)
Park Sung-hyun completed a wire-to-wire victory at the Hyundai China Ladies Open on Sunday, marking the 10th consecutive year a South Korean has won the event.
The 22-year-old Seoul native closed with a final-round 67 over the Mission Hills Haikou Blackstone course on Hainan Island for a score of 17-under 199, two strokes ahead of defending champion Kim Hyo-joo.
Park's fourth win of the year earned her $110,000. Jang Su-yeon (68) finished third at five shots off the pace, while world No 9 Chun In-gee, the highest-ranked player in the field, was a shot further back after a 68.
Shi Yuting was the top Chinese player after the rookie pro closed with a 70 to finish 12 strokes off the lead in equal 13th in the tournament that marked the final event of the 2015 China LPGA Tour season and the first of the 2016 LPGA of Korea Tour.
Park's 17-under score set a tournament record for 54 holes and marked her first victory outside of Korea.
"This is a good start for the new season. I am happy to get my first win outside of my home country," said a smiling Park, the world No 33. "The KLPGA money title has definitely come into my mind now. I'll do my best next season to make it happen."
Starting her day in the final group with playing partner Kim, Park stretched her lead to three strokes when she birdied the par-5 second hole.
After dropping a stroke with a birdie at the next, she could only play par golf over the next nine holes as a determined Kim came on in a bid for her third China Ladies Open crown.
As Park carded a bogey 5 at the par-4 third, Kim birdied the hole for a two-stroke swing.
"I did not play well on the front nine, but according to my plan I just wanted to make even par before the turn and then try to attack and shoot as low as possible," said Park.
"My plan worked perfectly, even though I was three shots behind after 10 holes. To my delight, it was my day in the end.
"Kim made a double bogey (at the 12th hole) and opened the door a little. I thought it might be my chance. I cannot say this is my A-game even though I shot lower than my goal."
An upbeat Kim admitted she made a mistake with her double-bogey six, but she did not feel bad as she also made a lot of birdies to put pressure on Park.
"My drive (at the 12th hole) went left into the forest and then I hit a provisional ball before I went on the fairway. But I defended very well on that hole," she said.
National team player Shi complimented the performances of the top South Koreans and said this was the level that Chinese players need to match if they are to challenge on the world stage.
"I did many things great, but I would say it is a frustrating performance and I had no breakthrough moment," said the Beijing teenager.
Park Sunghyun poses with China Ladies Open trophy after winning in Hainan on Sunday. Provided To China Daily
(China Daily 12/15/2015 page22)