Inbee Park – photo Golf Australia
South Korean, Inbee Park, staked her claim early in pursuit of her first Women’s Australian Open with an eagle at her very first hole on Thursday and from that point on she was never really headed.
She was, admittedly, caught through 36 holes but she drew clear again through 54 holes and although she battled to a round of 74 on the final day she was not alone in the demanding conditions of Sunday and eventually won by three over American Amy Olson and by four over Frenchwoman Perrine Delacour.
For the 31 year old Park it was her 20th LPGA Tour title but one that means a lot to her for several reasons.
“It’s always great to put my name on a beautiful trophy, especially have such nice winners on that trophy. It’s great to be part of,” said the champion.
“The Australian Open is a national title for Australia and I would love to have the title with me. It’s a great honour to put my name among these legends in golf and hopefully later, 10, 20 years later, everybody look at those names and maybe one of my name, and then everybody think that it is their honour to be on there.”
“I think it’s really the joy that I am feeling and the relief, I guess. Because I just didn’t know when it was going to come. It took almost two years to come. I have been missing them quite a lot. So,yeah, really good to have the trophy again.”
Hannah Green finished as the leading Australian when sharing 13th place after she too battled to a final round of 74.
The West Australian talked afterwards of the added pressure and attention that being a major champion brings.
“It’s definitely something you need to get used to. Even last week at the Victorian Open, having my face everywhere and then this week having my face around, it’s definitely something I haven’t experienced before.
“I don’t know, I think it’s probably sometimes a good thing to have a little bit of pressure, just to make sure that it really means something to you. This is definitely one of my favourite events that we get to play all year round, so I’m really happy when I have a good result, and I think I do have a good result because I’ve got so many people here supporting me.”
Green’s fellow West Australian, Minjee Lee, was the next best in 34th place.
The LPGA Tour now has several week’s off as a result of the Corona Viras forcing the postponement of events in Asia, their next event being the Founders Cup in Arizona in a month’s time.