CHONBURI, Thailand (AP) — Inbee Park of South Korea took advantage of overnight leader Ariya Jutanugarn's collapse on the last hole of the final round Sunday to secure a one-stroke victory in the LPGA Thailand at the Siam Country Club Pattaya Old Course.
Thai teenager Jutanugarn blew a two-stroke lead over the Korean on the final hole where she hit a triple bogey before finishing with a 72, to hand the No. 4-ranked Park, who had finished earlier with a 67 for a 12-under 276 total, a surprise win.
Jutanugarn, who needed a putt from within two feet to force a playoff on the last but saw her ball lip out and stop a foot away, was moved to tears by the miss as Park, who was watching from the clubhouse, celebrated with her caddie. The Thai teen finished with sole possession of second place with an 11-under 277.
"I was really disappointed because I went onto the course hoping to win not for myself but for the whole country. A lot of people came to support me and wanted to see me win. But I didn't make it. However, I was so happy that they still supported me even I didn't live up to their expectations," said an emotional Jutanugarn.
"I went for two shots on instead of three on the 18th hole. I was crazy to do that and I learned my lesson. I thought I would finish with a bogey at worst and win by a shot but I never imagined this," said the 17-year-old Thai, who fought back from a stroke behind Park by hitting a hole in one on the par 3 No. 12 to regain the lead at 14 under. The ace won her a Honda car worth more than $50,000.
It was the fourth LPGA win for the 24-year-old Park after her most recent in the 2012 Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia last October.
"I played very good today. I shot 5-under today. On No. 17 when I missed that birdie putt I thought that this game might be over because she was at 14 and it was a two-stroke lead coming into the last hole," Park said. "I knew she was a long hitter so she had a chance to go ahead. So yeah I just didn't' expect this kind of finish.
"Out of all the other wins, this win just felt like it was not as much work this week. It was a lot easier this week for me and I really want to congratulate Ariya for her fantastic golf the last four days. She has a lot of fans out here and she's very talented. So I think I'll be seeing more of her," said Park, winner of the 2008 US Women's Open. "If I was in Ariya's situation, I would be very, very nervous and I don't' think I would have handled the pressure until the last hole. I think she handled the pressure well today and this week. Just the last day, I just think it's going to happen. I think something like this happening is just experience under her belt. She's going to be a great player later on."