Inbee Park wins Manulife Financial Classic
Posted on 01/24/19 6:23 PM
Inbee Park won the Manulife Financial Classic on Sunday for her first LPGA Tour title in more than 11 months, matching the course record with a 10-under 61 for a three-stroke victory over Cristie Kerr.
A week after losing the top spot in the world ranking to Stacy Lewis, Park finished at 23-under 261 at Grey Silo for her 10th LPGA Tour title and first since the US Women’s Open.
“I’ve got to say, definitely a little bit pressure off of me,” Park said. “At the same time, I think I needed a little bit of motivation. I just didn’t have any win after the US Open. I was playing good but not great. So yeah, I think last week was a very good motivation and inspiration for me. So this week, I thought I needed to step it up a little bit.”
The 25-year-old South Korean player had only one bogey in 72 holes – on the fourth hole in the first round. On Sunday, she played the front nine in 5-under 31 and added birdies on Nos. 10, 12-14 and 18 to match the course record set last year by Hee Young Park.
“I didn’t really think about the 59,” Park said. “All I thought about was just trying to bring that trophy home. I knew there was a lot of birdies and the way I played today everything seemed like it was trying to go in. Even if I didn’t make it, it was still close. It’s the first time I putted really well in a while, so I was really happy that my putter’s finally back.”
Park ended a 20-event tour winless streak. Last year, she swept the first three majors and finished the season with six victories. She also won a Ladies European Tour event three months ago in China.
After a week off, the tour will resume play June 19-22 with the US Women’s Open at Pinehurst.
“I think it’s really good timing,” Park said.
Kerr finished with a 63.
“I never looked at the scoreboard until I came off 17, with a reachable par 5 to see where I was,” Kerr said. “I was three back and I was stunned because I was 7 under for the day. You’d think you’d be close.
“But it was great, a great week. I did great with my focus. I played great. I can’t complain.”
China’s Shanshan Feng, two strokes ahead of Park and Michelle Wie entering the round, had a 68 to finish third at 18 under.
Lydia Ko and Belen Mozo tied for fourth at 16 under. The 17-year-old Ko closed with a 66, and Mozo shot 65.
Lewis and Wie followed at 15 under. Lewis had a 63, and Wie shot 69.
“I just wanted to play well,” said Lewis, the winner last week in New Jersey. “I’ve kind of had some frustrating rounds all week so I just wanted to put together a good round. Still, even left a few out there today, but it’s just nice to see some putts go in kind of leading into the off week and into the Open.”