Inbee Park of Korea hits her tee shot on the 18th hole in the final round of the LPGA U.S. Women's Open Championship at Lancaster Country Club in Lancaster, PA on July 12, 2015. In Gee Chun of Korea wins the U.S. Women's Open and her first LPGA major championship with a score of 8 under par. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
March 6 (UPI) -- South Korean Inbee Park saved her best for last on Sunday, sinking American Michelle Wie in the final round with an 8-under 64 for a one-shot victory at the HSBC Women's Champions in Singapore.
Park finished with a 19-under 269 on the Tanjong Course at Sentosa Golf Club to edge playing partner Ariya Jutanugarn, who was second after a 66.
The win is the 18th of Park's LPGA Tour career and her first since her gold medal triumph at the Rio Olympics.
"My putting was amazing today obviously," Park said after the win. "Yesterday I was really disappointed with my putter. I couldn't make any putts yesterday and obviously I made up for it today. Today was pretty much, everything I looked at, it wanted to drop in. It was very consistent ball-striking all week, and obviously there is a lot of birdie opportunities out there and I was able to convert the birdies -- many of them into birdies today."
Park took six months off following her win at the Olympics and only returned to the LPGA Tour last week when she finished tied for 25th in Thailand.
"Yeah, it surprises me, as well, because I thought it may take maybe a couple months to kind of get back out on the Tour and to get my rhythm back," Park said. "You know, I thought I was going to be just a little bit rusty. That's how I felt exactly last week. This week was totally different. Especially the final round was just what I wanted, and obviously it was a little bit inconsistent round like yesterday's round but obviously I made up for it today."
With her victory, Park is projected to jump from No. 12 in the Rolex Women's World Golf Rankings to No. 9. Park becomes the first two-time winner of the event.
South Korea's Sung Hyun Park (68) was third at 16 under, three shots back. Wie, who took a two-shot lead into the final round, dropped into a tie for fourth at 14 under after a 72.
Wie needed a sponsor's invitation in the $1.5 million LPGA tournament. Her round was undone when she came to the par-5 fifth after two straight birdies. She then four-putted from close range and ended up with a double bogey.
Wie completed her best finish since a tie for third at the 2014 Blue Bay LPGA. She was looking for her first win since the 2014 U.S. Women's Open.
"Overall, I can't complain, but right now it stings a little bit," Wie said. "I played hard. Just a couple of putts didn't drop in and I just missed a couple. Just that one hole I missed two short ones. But I played well today. I think I was just a little amped up today and my irons were going a little bit further, so I just wasn't hitting them as close as I was all week.
"I played solidly today. Just a couple putts didn't go in, and Inbee played really well. Obviously I wanted to walk away with the trophy, but there's so many leaps and strides forward that I made this week. I'm really proud of myself."
Wie finished alongside Canadian Brooke Henderson (66) and last year's champion Jang Ha Na (69) of South Korea.
Jutanugarn, ranked No. 2 in the world, was impressed with her partner's performance.
"I had so much fun playing with Inbee. She's awesome. She's the best player," said Jutanugarn of Thailand. "I learned a lot from her. She's very calm. I feel like she makes every putt. I don't think she missed one today."
No. 1 Lydia Ko of New Zealand shot a 72 and finished in a tie for ninth at 12 under, seven behind.