Inbee Park repeats as LPGA Championship winner
Park of South Korea beats Brittany Lincicome in playoff, ending United States’ major streak at three.
The Associated Press
PITTSFORD, N.Y. — Calm under the intense pressure of a playoff at a major, Inbee Park added another title to her impressive LPGA Tour resume.
Park successfully defended her title in the LPGA Championship, beating Brittany Lincicome with a par on the first hole of a playoff Sunday to end the United States’ major streak at three.
“I didn’t feel that nervous at all today,” said Park, also a playoff winner last year. “But once I got to the tee on the playoff hole, I just felt the nerves right away. It was like a replay of last year and experience definitely helped me out. I think I was able to stay calm.”
The victory came on a bittersweet day when the LPGA Tour bade farewell to the Rochester area after 38 years. Next year, the tour will team with the PGA of America to run the Women’s PGA Championship. The 2015 event will be played at Westchester Country Club near New York City.
Park, Nancy Lopez and Patty Sheehan are only players to win twice in a row in Rochester.
“Just very happy to be part of history,” Park said.
Lincicome was poised to win her second major and keep that American streak alive, but her nerves got the best of her after she led all day.
“Not being in this position for a while, I think it all caught up with me,” Lincicome said. “Being second at a major is always a good thing. I feel like I played really, really well this week. If I keep playing the way I did, my time’s coming soon. It was nice to be in contention again.”
On the playoff hole on Monroe Golf Club’s par-4 18th, Park hit her second shot into the rough behind the hole. Lincicome hit her approach to the left fringe, nearly identical to her position on the final hole of regulation when she made a bogey to fall into the playoff.
Lincicome chipped 6 feet past the hole and failed to convert for bogey. Park, the winner last year at Locust Hill on the third extra hole with Catriona Matthew, chipped to 3 feet and calmly sank her par putt for her fifth major title and fourth in the last two seasons.
“Inbee is so darn good. It was so close,” Lincicome said. “I need to learn how to control the nerves a little bit more.”
Park finished with a 2-under 70 to match Lincicome at 11-under 276. Lincicome had a 71.
Americans won the first three majors of the for the first time since 1999. Lexi Thompson began the run at Kraft Nabisco, Michelle Wie won the U.S. Women’s Open and Mo Martin the Women’s British Open.
The 26-year-old Park, from South Korea, was coming off a playoff loss to Mirim Lee last week in Michigan. Park also won this season in Canada and has 11 LPGA Tour victories.
She’s projected to jump from third to second in the world, passing 17-year-old Lydia Ko.
Jimin Kang, a graduate of King’s High School in Shoreline, tied for 62nd at 7-over 295.
• Bernhard Langer rallied to win the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open in Endicott, N.Y., for his fifth Champions Tour victory of the year, while Kevin Sutherland followed his tour-record 59 with a 74 to tie for seventh.
The 56-year-old Langer played all 54 holes without a bogey, closing with a 6-under 66 for a one-stroke victory over Woody Austin and Mark O’Meara. Langer finished at 16-under 200 at En-Joie Golf Club for his 23rd career victory on the 50-and-over tour.
Sutherland, the second-round leader, had five bogeys — four on the first 10 holes — and three birdies in the final round. Playing his third Champions Tour event since turning 50 in June, he finished at 12 under.
Langer, tied for fifth with Bob Charles on the tour victory list, earned $277,500 to increase his tour-leading total to $2,652,520. The German has three victories in his last five starts.
He will compete in this week’s Boeing Classic at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge, where he won the 2010 event by three strokes over Nick Price. Langer also won the 2010 U.S. Senior Open at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish.
• Camilo Villegas won the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C., by a stroke for his first PGA Tour victory since 2010, closing with 7-under 63 at Sedgefield.
He finished at 17-under 263 and earned $954,000 and 500 FedEx Cup points in the final regular-season event.
Bill Haas and Freddie Jacobson tied for second. Haas had a 64, and Jacobson shot 66. Michael Putnam, who is from University Place, tied for 57th at 3-under 277.
• South Korea’s Gunn Yang completed his improbable run to the U.S. Amateur title with a 2-and-1 victory over Canada’s Corey Conners at Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Ga.
At No. 776, Yang became the lowest-ranked player in the world amateur standings to win the event. Along the way, he beat five players inside the top 100, including the 44th-ranked Conners.