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Sung Hyun Park birdies 18th for LPGA Tour win in Arkansas

July 1, 2019
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Sung Hyun Park holds up the trophy after winning the LPGA Walmart NW Arkansas Championship golf tournament, Sunday, June 30, 2019, in Rogers, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)

ROGERS, Ark. (AP) — Sung Hyun Park two-putted for birdie on the par-5 18th to win the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship on Sunday for her second LPGA Tour victory of the season and seventh overall.

The 25-year-old Park is projected to move from second to first in the world ranking Monday. She will take the top spot from friend Jin Young Ko, the fellow South Korean player who poured water over Park’s head on the 18th green.

“It would definitely be good to be back on the top, but to be honest, there was a lot of pressure when I was the No. 1,” Park said through a translator. “But I wouldn’t want to sort of keep that in mind, because I would be under pressure. But then again, it would feel nice to be the No. 1.”

Park closed with a 5-under 66 to finish at 18-under 195 at Pinnacle Country Club. She tapped in a putt not much more than a foot on the 18th to beat Danielle Kang, Hyo Joo Kim and Inbee Park by a stroke.

“To be honest, my round today didn’t go as well as I thought it would,” Sung Hyun Park said. “I knew that it was important to make a lot of birdies on the front nine, but there were a lot of opportunities. ... But I talked with my caddie, and we both said there’s still a lot of hope left. Every single shot was really important.”

Kang, Kim and Inbee Park each shot 65, with Kang playing the final five holes in 5 under with an eagle on the par-5 14th and birdies on the last three.

“I definitely finished well,” Kang said. “I gave everything I got the last nine holes, so came up one shot short. Wish we could have gone to playoff, but I knew that Sung Hyun was going to have an iron in on the last hole.”

She did, and from only 164 yards. She hit about 30 feet left of the flag to set up the two-putt birdie

Sung Hyun Park birdied all four par-5 holes in the final round. She played the 18th in 4 under for the three rounds, making an eagle Friday and a birdie Saturday for a share of the second-round lead with Carlota Ciganda.

She won the HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore in early March and was second last week in Minnesota in the major KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

Inbee Park missed a chance for 20th LPGA Tour title and first since early last season.

“I had a lot of birdie opportunities, but I wasn’t able to convert enough,” she said. “My putting was just a little bit weak compared to other parts of the game today.”

Brittany Altomare was fifth at 16 under after a 66. Ciganda had a 69 to finish at 15 under with Ryann O’Toole (64), Mi Jung Hur (64) and Daniela Darquea (67).

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