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Date [ 2017-03-05, 16:56 ]
Inbee Park wins the 2017 HSBC Women's Champions

Inbee Park at the final round of the HSBC Women's Champions


Inbee Park provided the galleries at Sentosa Golf Club with a masterclass in putting on the final day of the HSBC Women’s Champions, as she claimed her second victory in the prestigious tournament.

The Olympic champion and winner of seven Majors was unstoppable on the New Tanjong Course, leaving the rest of the field in her wake as she notched up eight birdies in ten holes. Her score of 8-under-par 64 set a new course record and saw her claim the title by a single stroke over second placed Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand, at 19-under-par.

To her credit, Jutanugarn kept in contention right up until the end and, with Park making a rare visit to the bunker on the 18th, for a moment it looked as though the tournament might be heading for a play-off finish. Jutanugarn’s attempted birdie putt came ever-soclose, before rolling past, leaving Park to close out the tournament with a bogey.

The fairy-tale ending for overnight leader Michelle Wie drifted away from the popular American when she four-putted the par-five fifth hole – an error she was unable to recover from. Wie carded an even par-72 for the round, to leave her tied in fourth place alongside Brooke Henderson and Ha Na Jang.

But the day unquestionably belonged to Park who, after a six-month absence from the game, reminded us just what a formidable competitor she is. 

Speaking about her victory, Park said: “I'm happy that I got my putter back today. Yesterday was I was a little disappointed with my putting. I was hitting some good putts but just didn't drop. It was a little frustrating and disappointing, but obviously today was a very good day on the greens, and I was able to put myself in the winner's circle this week – the faster, the better, that's what I always said. It's great.”

Asked how it felt to be the first person to win the tournament for the second time, Park added: “First person to do that, I couldn't believe that, obviously that's great. And also played on two golf courses, as well. I always loved playing in Singapore. We always get a great field of players here this week. As a player, it's always great to compete with the greatest players and the strongest field.” 

Ariya Jutanugarn at the final round of the HSBC Women'sChampions


Jutanugarn, who carded 6-under 66, leaving her at 18-under for the tournament said: “I'm really happy about my game, especially this week, and today. I had so much fun. You know, I have so much fun playing with Inbee. She's awesome. She's the best player. I learned a lot from her. She's very calm. I feel like she makes every putt. I don’t think she missed one putt today.”

Third place went to Sung Hyun Park of Korea. The 23-year-old LPGA rookie from Korea played beautifully throughout the tournament and has a stellar career ahead of her on the LPGA Tour. 

Another player to light up the course in round four was Brooke Henderson. The Canadian got off to a hot start with five birdies on the front nine, eventually settling for 6-under for the round alongside Jang and Wie, at 14-under-par. 

Michelle Wie at the final round of the HSBC Women's Champions


For Wie there were a lot of positives to take from a performance that has seen her top the leaderboard for much of the tournament.
Wie said: “I can't complain, but right now it stings a little bit. I played hard. Just a couple of putts didn't drop in and I just missed a couple. Just that one hole I missed two short ones. But I played well today. 

“I think I was just a little amped up and my irons were going a little bit further, so I just wasn't hitting them as close as I was all week. Inbee played really well. Obviously I wanted to walk away with the trophy, but there's so many leaps and strides forward that I made this week. I'm really proud of myself.”

Singapore’s Amanda Tan finished the tournament strongly, equalling her best round of 1-over-par 73. The 18-year-old will take a lot from her second outing in the tournament. 

Said Tan: “Today was better than yesterday - I made more birdies; had the most birdies among the four rounds. It was better [but] I didn't hole a lot of putts, again but I think I learned a lot during these four rounds, and especially today. I'm happy to bring that into next week for the China Q-School. I think ultimately, a bit disappointing week, but I still learned a lot from my pro debut.”

Giles Morgan, Global Head of Sponsorship & Events for HSBC, said: “Congratulations to Inbee on her wonderful victory on the New Tanjong Course. What a perfect stage to crown our champion for the second time at this event as she becomes the first player to win it more than once.

"This week we have continued on our journey to make golf anyone’s game and open the game up to new and younger audiences, dazzling Singapore with lasers, glitter balls and K-Pop all thrown into the mix. The world class field of players has once again performed, all fantastic ambassadors and role models for golf and sport in general.

"There have been many remarkable moments at the HSBC Women's Champions over the past ten years, and Inbee's triumph here is up there with the best. It is very fitting that the Olympic champion has returned to become a double champion of this event. She is truly a champion of women's golf."

Speaking about the new course, Sentosa Golf Club President, Low Teo Ping said: “This year’s HSBC Women’s Champions has proven to be one of the most exciting in the tournament’s ten-year history. We’ve witnessed four days of truly first class golf with the very best players in the game fighting for position at the top of the leaderboard. The New Tanjong Course has provided the players with a new challenge and it has been interesting to see them develop their game-plan over the course of the tournament. 

“The new course has not only added to the excitement on course but has undoubtedly added to an enhanced spectator experience which is evident in the number of visitors that have made their way to Sentosa this week. Our congratulations to Inbee on a remarkable and highly deserved victory. We look forward to seeing her back at Sentosa Golf Club to defend her title next year.”

Guy Kinnings, Chairman of Golf at tournament organiser IMG, added: “What a thrilling four days of golf it has been and many congratulations to Inbee Park on winning her second HSBC Women’s Champions title. We could not have asked for a more exciting leaderboard as we celebrate the 10th anniversary of this world class event. 

“We must extend our sincere thanks to our title sponsor HSBC, to our partners the Singapore Tourism Board and the LPGA and all our sponsors, and to our generous hosts the Sentosa Golf Club, who have all made the HSBC Women’s Champions such a success.”

Play was stopped due to the threat of lightening from 13.47 to 14.37, leaving the final two flights with a 50-minute break before being able to complete their rounds. 

The tenth edition of the HSBC Women’s Champions saw 63 of the best players in the world compete for their share of the US$ 1.5 million prize purse over 72 holes of stroke play on the New Tanjong course at Sentosa Golf Club.

Sung Hyun Park at the final round of the HSBC Women'sChampions

 
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