Tuesday, March 11, 2014
The Associated Press
SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. - Inbee Park won the U.S. Women's Open on Sunday to make history with titles in the year's first three majors.
The world's top-ranked player finished at 8-under to win by four strokes. Her 2-over 74 in the final round was more than enough, with Sebonack's trying conditions keeping any rivals from making a run. Only three players were under par for the tournament.
Fellow South Korean I.K. Kim also shot 74 for her second runner-up finish at a major.
No player had ever won the first three majors in a year with at least four.
"I'm just very glad to put my name in history," Park said.
Ahead by four strokes at the start of the round, Park birdied the ninth and 10th holes to extend her lead. She has won six times already this year, including three straight tournaments. Park added a second U.S. Women's Open title to another historic victory in 2008, when she became the event's youngest champion at age 19.
So Yeon Ryu, the 2011 U.S. Women's Open champion, shot 72 to finish third at 1-under. South Korean players took the top three spots and have won the last five majors.
With lashing wind and devilish greens, Sebonack was a classically troublesome U.S. Women's Open course. And once Park built a lead, nobody could mount a charge.
She certainly wasn't going to make enough mistakes to come back to the field. Park predicted Saturday that shooting even par in the final round would be enough, and she sure was right.
All of four players were under par Sunday -- though that was still more than the third round, when only Park accomplished the feat.
Kim birdied No. 2 to pull within three strokes; she couldn't claw closer. And when she bogeyed the fourth hole, the deficit was back to four shots.
Park bogeyed the sixth and seventh, but so did Kim.
The only player to win the year's first three majors was Babe Zaharias in 1950, back when there were only three.
The women now have five majors, so Grand Slam might not quite be the right term if she wins all of them. Up next is the Women's British Open at St. Andrews on Aug. 1-4.
Soon-to-be Oklahoma State player Casie Cathrea shot 70 on Sunday to match Shanshan Feng for the best round of the day and finish as the low amateur at 9-over.
Lydia Ko, the 16-year-old New Zealander who won the Canadian Open last August to become the youngest LPGA Tour winner, was next at 11-over.
PGA TOUR: Bill Haas won the AT&T National and joined some distinguished company.
Haas pulled away from a crowd of contenders at Bethesda, Md., with three straight birdies in the middle of his final round at Congressional. Two key putts down the stretch gave him some room for error that he didn't even need. He closed with a 5-under 66 for a three-shot win over Roberto Castro.
As many as six players had a share of the lead at some point until Haas made the first of his three straight birdies on No. 8. He led by at least two shots the entire back nine.
Haas now has won at least one PGA Tour event each of the last four years, matched only by Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose.
EUROPEAN TOUR: Paul Casey made a 50-foot eagle putt on the 18th hole and won the Irish Open by three strokes at Maynooth, Ireland.
The 35-year-old Englishman trailed by four shots entering the final round. He closed with a 5-under 67 that featured a stretch of five birdies in six holes from No. 8 to No. 13. He finished at 14-under 274 in winning his 14th career title.
England's Robert Rock (71) and third-round leader Dutchman Joost Luiten (74) shared second at 277.
CHAMPIONS TOUR: Kenny Perry won the Senior Players for his first major title, overtaking Fred Couples with a final round 6-under 64 at Pittsburgh.
Perry finished his four rounds in 19-under 261 at Fox Chapel, two shots ahead of Couples and Duffy Waldorf.