Sung Hyun Park has recorded her first win on the LPGA Tour and become the seventh South Korean in 10 years to win the US Women’s Open, defeating 17-year-old amateur Hye-Jin Choi by two strokes at Trump National Bedminster.
Park shot a five-under 67 in her final round to move to 11-under par for the championship; the second-lowest score to par in the tournament’s 72-year history. And, after narrowly missing last year’s playoff, the victory felt even more special.
“I actually cannot believe that I am even making this acceptance speech,” the 23-year-old said. “The fact my name is going to be engraved on (the trophy) is unbelievable. I am so thankful and happy.”
While Choi – who is also from South Korea – played in the group behind and at one stage held a share of the lead, before her tee-shot at the par-3 16th found water and led to a disappointing double bogey.
“Well, this tournament for me, even if I could just come and play, that alone would be an honour,” Choi said. “It was excellent that I got the runner-up and it is an unbelievably joyous thing for me.”
World No.1 and former champion, So Yeon Ryu, finished four shots back of Park in a tie for third and was pleased to see so many of her countrywomen playing well.
“It’s really good to see a lot of Korean girls up here,” Ryu said. “But I think this is not really a matter of countries. We are all fellow competitors and we’re really good friends out there.”
Minjee Lee was the leading Australian and carded the round of the day – a six-under 66 – to claim a share of 11th. This came after a third-round 77 that effectively took her out of contention.
“I just wanted to have a good day to finish,” Lee said. “I didn’t have a very good day yesterday … We take the five-over out and it would have been a great week.”
Two-time champion Karrie Webb was the next best Aussie, finishing in a tie for 44th despite signing for a final-round 76.