Published July 29, 2012
| Sports Network
Evian-les-Bains, France (Sports Network) - Inbee Park birdied the last three holes Sunday to earn her second LPGA Tour victory at the Evian Masters.
Park fired a 6-under 66 and finished the championship at 17-under 271. She won by two strokes over fellow third-round leader Stacy Lewis (68) and Hall of Famer Karrie Webb (67).
This was Park's first victory on tour since she captured the 2008 U.S. Women's Open at Interlachen at the age of 19. She was on a great run when she arrived at Evian Masters Golf Club with four straight top 10s, including a playoff loss at the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic.
"How would I describe in words? It feels great," said Park. "It's been four years. It felt more than four years. Just really happy."
On Sunday, Park put on a putting clinic. Armed with a 1-shot lead on the par-5 18th green, Park rolled in a 20-foot birdie to punctuate her victory.
The shame of this win for Park is that it maybe came a year too early. Next year, the Evian Masters will become a major championship, but either way, Park is glad for the victory.
"I'll feel really special playing this event as a defending champion," said Park. "I'm really excited for this tournament, because they're re-doing all the golf course and all that to make it a major."
Reigning LPGA Champion Shanshan Feng holed out for eagle from a bunker at the 18th to shoot a 6-under 66. She tied for fourth place with 2007 winner Natalie Gulbis (68) and amateur Hyo Joo Kim (68) at 14-under par.
Anna Nordqvist posted a 4-under 68 and finished seventh at 12-under 276. Se Ri Pak managed a 3-under 69, which was good for eighth place at minus-11.
Park, who shared first with Lewis at the start of the final round, bogeyed the third hole, but she rebounded with a birdie at five. She drained a 10-footer for birdie at the seventh to tie for the lead, then rattled in another 10- footer for birdie at nine to move one ahead of Webb and Lewis.
Park extended her margin with yet another medium-length birdie putt at No. 10. She was two clear, but that lead got trimmed one hole later when she hit a poor bunker shot at 11 and made bogey.
Webb, the 2006 winner, and Gulbis both birdied the 13th to match Park in front at 13-under par. Park, who played in the final group directly behind Webb and Gulbis, kicked in a 4-foot birdie putt of her own at No. 13 to reclaim first.
Park converted a huge par save from 12 feet at the 14th to stay in the lead at 14-under.
It was after that par save when Feng holed her bunker shot at the par-5 18th to tie for the lead. Gulbis squandered her chance at the title when she 3- putted the 16th for a bogey. Webb also hit a horrendous first putt at 16, but she sank an 8-footer to save par and stay one back.
Park put her foot on the pedal, starting at No. 16. She made a 4-foot birdie putt to once again grab the lead. She knocked her tee ball inside four feet at the 17th and made that to go two ahead with one to play.
Webb birdied the 18th to put some pressure on Park. Webb was one down, then Lewis rolled in a 20-foot eagle putt at the 18th to join Webb at 15-under par.
After Park laid up with her second, she wedged her third 20 feet short and drained the putt to post a 2-shot victory.
"It looked like it wasn't going to happen until the middle of the round," said Park. "But at the end, I had a really strong finish to finish the round, so it was a great putting day today."
Beatriz Recari (66), Ilhee Lee (69) and Paula Creamer (70) shared ninth at 10- under 278.
NOTES: Park pocketed $487,500, which is the second-highest first-place check on tour after the U.S. Women's Open...The LPGA Tour moves to Ohio in two weeks for the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic, where Na Yeon Choi captured the tournament the last time it was played in 2010.