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Park In-bee storms in victory in HSBC Women’s Champions

Park In-bee storms in victory in HSBC Women’s Champions

Posted March. 06, 2017 07:09,   

Updated March. 06, 2017 07:14

Great putting play has led Korean golfer Park In-bee to the victory, marking a successful return from injury. When Park was suffering from a thumb injury, she said that she would be happy only by returning to the field. Winning the HSBC Women’s Champions, Park kissed the trophy with a bright smile.

Park In-bee won the HSBC Women's Champions on Sunday on the LPGA Tour on the par-72 Tanjong course at Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore. Park had tied for the fourth place (three shots back) at the start of the final round, but shot up the leaderboard with nine birdies and one bogey. She finished on 19-under to defeat Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand by one shot.

Park focused on the treatment and rehabilitation of her left thumb after winning the gold medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. On her comeback at last week's Honda LPGA Thailand, she finished tied-25th. In her second try, however, she captured the first LPGA Tour victory in 16 months since the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in November 2015. It also marks her 18th LPGA Tour victory in her career.

In early December 2016, Park In-bee went through tough training, including tennis and badminton play, in Las Vegas with the support of Nam Gi-hyeob, her husband and swing coach, and Kim Eung-jin, another coach who helped her at the Olympics. She corrected a problem with shot direction by adopting customized swing that is easy on the body.

Park has shared her joy of winning the Champions again after no-bogey 72-hole victory in 2015 with her parents and 85-year-old grandfather. Her grandfather, who named her and introduced her to golf, traveled a long way to support her and see her win the event.

Early in the season, Park said that she erased all memory of trophies at home to start again with a renewed mind. After the ceremony, she said that she was as happy as when she won for the first time at the age of 19. She now embarks on the second chapter of her career.

Korean golfers have won the HSBC Women’s Champions for three consecutive years. Also, it is the third LPGA Tour won by a Korean golfer in the recent three weeks, following Jang Ha-na and Yang Hee-young. Park Sung-hyun, a super-rookie in the LPGA, has proved her potential, finishing third in her debut event.

Korean-American golfer Michelle Wie started the final round in the lead with high expectations for victory but four-putted for a double-bogey on the par-5 fifth.

Jong-Seok Kim kjs0123@donga.com