Park tops Matthew in playoff to capture LPGA Championship

Inbee Park struggled down the stretch on Sunday with three bogeys over her final five holes, but topped Catriona Matthew on the third playoff hole to win the LPGA Championship.

Park, who held a 1-stroke lead entering the final round after posting a 68 during the third round earlier Sunday, closed with a 3-over 75 during her final round to finish four rounds at Locust Hill Country Club at 5-under-par 283.

"It was a tough day out there. I didn't hit many fairways out there and I was scrambling really well out there," said Park. "I think I was actually really lucky to get in the playoff. The amount of fairways I was missing today it's almost a miracle that I won today. I think I got a little lucky there, too. And I really tried to fight off and tried not to give up. That really paid off."

There were two rounds played on Sunday due to Thursday's opening round being suspended without a single hole of action because of rain.

Park earned her third career major victory and her second this season as she also won April's Kraft Nabisco Championship.

After tripping to a 73 in the morning, Matthew carded a 4-under 68 in her final round to meet Park atop the leaderboard.

Suzann Pettersen fired the low round of the day with a 7-under 65 to share third place with Morgan Pressel (75) at minus-4, while Amy Yang (70) Chella Choi (72), Sun Young Yoo (73) and Jiyai Shin (75) tied for fifth at 3-under.

Shanshan Feng (70), Michelle Wie (71) and Na Yeon Choi (74) occupied ninth at 2-under.

Park held a 3-stroke lead over Pressel at 8-under with six holes to play following Pressel's bogey at the 12th, but the top-ranked player in the world's struggles over that stretch opened the door for Matthew to make her move.

Park's first mishap came with a bogey at the 14th, and she then dropped another shot at the 16th to fall to 6-under.

Matthew, meanwhile, recorded the fourth birdie of her bogey-free round at the 17th to move into sole possession of second at minus-5 as Pressel bogeyed the 16th to fall two shots off the pace.

Matthew closed with a par to head into the clubhouse at 5-under.

Park had a chance to gain some cushion with a birdie putt from about 10 feet at the 17th, but she could not convert the opportunity to maintain her 1- stroke advantage.

She then hit her drive at the 18th into the left rough, failed to get out with her second shot and rolled her third well past the hole and on to the back fringe of the green.

Her lengthy par effort settled a couple feet short of the hole and she kicked that in for bogey to force the playoff.

After Park and Matthew both parred the first playoff hole -- the 18th -- and each scrambled for par at the 10th for the second extra hole, the duo returned to the 18th tee again for the third playoff, where Matthew hit her tee shot into the right rough and Park's found the fairway.

Park stuck her second shot to 18 feet of the pin, while Matthew punched her second across the fairway and into another patch of rough in front of the green.

Matthew could only manage to hit her third about 10 yards forward out of the thick rough and after she pitched her next shot on to the green, Park rolled in her birdie effort for the win.

"She's had an amazing run the last probably nearly two years. She's just so consistent," Matthew said about Park. "She really doesn't hit many bad shots. She always seems to be down the middle on the green, always gives herself a chance, and when she starts holing putts, she can hole a lot."

Earlier on Sunday, Park converted a birdie putt from about 10 feet at the fifth to move to 9-under a pull two strokes clear of Pressel, but quickly gave that shot back with a bogey at the sixth.

Pressel bogeyed the seventh to again fall two strokes off the pace, but used a 2-stroke swing at the eighth to grab a share of the lead at 7-under as she rolled in a short birdie putt while Park tripped to a bogey.

However, Park regained the outright lead at the 10th when Pressel lipped out a short par putt.

Park then birdied the 11th to pull ahead by two before Pressel dropped out of contention with her bogey at the 12th.

"I'm definitely disappointed, but it's the first time in a long time I've contended, so I'm happy with the way that I played this week as a whole," stated Pressel. "I had chances. Nothing went in. And that happens."

NOTES: Park collected $337,500 with her seventh career victory ... Park surpassed the $1 million mark in season earnings with the win and will maintain her world No. 1 ranking for the ninth consecutive week ... The LPGA heads to Arkansas in two weeks for the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, where Ai Miyazato captured her ninth career victory last year.