BEDMINSTER, N.J. — After weeks of doubt, the U.S. Women’s Open ceased being about President Donald Trump, his course along with his views regarding girls and it was to be what the USGA wanted: a fantastic championship on a fantastic course.
Unsurprisingly, the best player this week won, making up for a terrible weekend in this event a year ago.
Sung Hyun Park took her second right 5-under 67 on Sunday and won a final-round conflict with front-running Shanshan Feng and adolescent amateur sensation Hye-Jin Choi in Trump National Golf Club for the first LPGA Tour victory.
Even the 23-year-old Park birdied the 15th to move to a tie for the lead along with the 17th to open a two-shot edge after Choi made a double bogey to squander her possibility of getting the second amateur to win the function.
Park completed with an 11-under total of 277, two shots better than Choi, that shot at final-round 71.
It was a far cry from a year ago if Park hit into the water on the 18th hole in CordeValle at California and missed a playoff with eventual winner Britanny Lang and Anna Nordqvist with two shots.
“The experience was definitely well worth it, since according to this fantastic experience I had last year, I think I managed to market the championship this year,” Park said through an interpreter.
The USGA has been criticized for not moving the occasion from Trump National after comments made by the president girls came to light through the election campaign. There were risks of protests, particularly after Trump made a decision to attend to the championship after his trip to Paris on Thursday and Friday.
Trump arrived Friday and became the first sitting president to attend Women’s Open, seeing portions of the last three rounds. There was a little protest when he arrived in his box near the 15th green shortly after 3 p.m., however it was calm.
It ended up being a silent week of politics in the program. The golf was great.
Park had a fine chip from across the green on the par-5 18th hole to save par and win at the $900,000 top prize from the $5 million event.
Walking to the scoring tent to sign her card she acquired a thumps-up out of Trump out of his box.
“Well, to be truthful with you, I can’t believe it is really happening,” said Park, who is the leading rookie on the LPGA Tour. “It’s almost feel like I’m drifting on a cloud from the sky. Needless to say, I did have many winnings in different tournaments, but winning here in U.S. Open means so much more.
Choi was the low amateur for its second consecutive year. She was 38th at 2016. The only disadvantage was she could not pocket the $540,000 second-place decoration.
“I mean it’ll be nice if I could get the money but I think my principal aim was to come here and compete so, to me, becoming this instant place at runner-up really means more to me personally,” that the 17-year-old said.
Top-ranked Thus Yeon Ryu (70) along with fellow South Korean Mi Jung Hur (68) tied for third at 7 under. Feng, in China, had a 75 to drop into a tie for fifth at 6 under with Spain’s Carlota Ciganda (70) along with South Korea’s Jeongeun6 Lee (71).
South Koreans Sei Young Kim (69), Mirim Lee (72) along with Amy Yang (75) tied for eighth at 5 under. Marina Alex of neighboring Wayne, New Jersey, has been the greatest of the American at 4 under after a 70. It was the worst finish at the Open to the top American since Paula Creamer was seventh in 2012.
Choi was the story for most of the last round. She had a two-shot lead with two holes to play and had a 5-foot birdie in 15 to recover a part with Park, who had made a 20-footer from the group in front of her.
That he 139-yard, par-3 16th over water finished Choi’s hopes. Her 7-iron landed from the water to the right of the hole. She finished with a double bogey and basically missing her chance of winning.
“At the time that I felt that all this function, challenging work I put together was about to evaporate so that I was bit disappointed but I had to refocus,” said Choi, who birdied the last hole.
Choi’s 279 has been the best with an amateur at the Open, four shots better than the old mark from Grace Park in 1999. Catherine Lacoste remains the only amateur to win the Open, doing this in 1967.
Feng, who was the chief after the first three rounds and carried a one-shot edge in the final 18 holes triple bogeyed the last hole.
“I think general, prior to the previous hole I did fairly well,” said Feng, who had only two birdies at the previous two rounds. “I mean that I did a good job hanging right there since my putting was not really that good.”
It was not her first professional win for Park, who won seven times over the KLPGA Tour at 2016 and 3 times the year earlier.
“She’s long and young so she strikes the ball very long and very straight, extremely accurate and has rather good short game, too,” Feng said about Park. “I really don’t see any weak role inside her game”
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