Sunday, June 8, 2014

Manulife Financial LPGA Classic Sunday: Inbee Park Smokes Field with Closing 61 to Take LPGA Victory #10

Inbee Park made 24 birdies over her final 63 holes of the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic, including 10 today, as her final-round 61 catapulted her to a 3-shot victory over Cristie Kerr (who fired a bogey-free 63 of her own!) and a 5-shot margin over 3rd-round leader Shanshan Feng.  Park, who lost her #1 Rolex Ranking last week, rode a 68-hole bogey-free run to her 10th career LPGA title the week after new #1 Stacy Lewis reached double digits in the win column herself.

The difference, as usual, was putting.  Feng stalled on the weekend on the back 9, going +1 in her last 7 holes on Saturday and only E in her last 8 on Sunday, taking 35 putts in her final round.  That opened the door for 2 of the best putters in the world who found their touch on Grey Silo's greens this week.  Kerr hit 17 greens and took only 27 putts today, but Park hit the same number of greens and took 2 fewer.

Other golfers played great this week, as well, with Belen Mozo recording her 1st top 5 since her rookie season on 9/11/11 and tying Lydia Ko at -16, Stacy Lewis posting a final-round 63 to catch Michelle Wie at -15, Chella Choi firing a bogey-free 64 to catch Suzann Pettersen at -14, and Caroline Masson shooting a bogey-free 65 to catch So Yeon Ryu, Anna Nordqvist, and Hee Young Park at -13.  Grey Silo gave up other great numbers today, including a bogey-free 63 by Karine Icher, bogey-free 64s by Louise FribergGerina Piller, and P.K. Kongkraphan, and 65s by Catriona Matthew, Line Vedel, Joanna Klatten, and Katie Burnett (in addition to Mozo and Masson).  In the end, 23 golfers got to double digits under par.

So all hail the Queen Bee, who couldn't quite win the top spot back on the Rolex Rankings this week (it was mathematically impossible), but who broke a victory drought that goes back to last year's U.S. Women's Open, her last win of 2013.  And guess which tournament is less than 2 weeks away?

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