Inbee Park, Pernilla Lindberg take ANA Inspiration playoff into Monday

RANCHO MIRAGE, CA - APRIL 01: Pernilla Lindberg of Sweden and Inbee Park of South Korea on the 18th green the fourth hole of the sudden death play-off. Play was suspended at the conclusion of this hole during the final round of the 2018 ANA Inspiration on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at the Mission Hills CC on April 1, 2018 in Rancho Mirage, California. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images) David Cannon/Getty Images

Inbee Park, Pernilla Lindberg take ANA Inspiration playoff into Monday

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Inbee Park, Pernilla Lindberg take ANA Inspiration playoff into Monday

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – Inbee Park’s putting prowess knows no bounds. Turns out she’s money on the greens in the dark, too. The seven-time major winner, who has done nearly everything there is to do in golf, added playing a major under the lights to her resume.

What started out as a record three-way playoff between Jennifer Song, Pernilla Lindberg and Park at the ANA Inspiration, dwindled to two after three extra trips down the 18th. Lindberg, a newbie to this kind of stage, was the first to agree to a fourth playoff hole. Park followed as tournament officials raised the floodlights.

“I’m always up for a challenge,” Lindberg said. “If someone had to ask me how to describe myself, I would say that I’m competitive and I’m a fighter and a grinder, and I got to show that today.”

On their fourth trip down the iconic 18th, the floodlights behind the hole actually made it extremely difficult to see the flag on the approach, said Lindberg’s fiancé/caddie, Daniel Taylor. It didn’t get any easier on the green, yet both players managed to two-putt for par – Lindberg from 15 feet and Park from 35 feet. Park made an epic 5-foot comebacker to push the playoff to another day.

“I’m just happy that we got rid of that 18th hole,” said Park, who will square off against Lindberg at 11 a.m. Eastern on the par-4 10th hole. Park birdied the 10th hole twice this week; Lindberg birdied it once.

The fourth round of the year’s first major was a dizzying display of hole-outs and clutch shots. Nine different players held the lead. As the last two groups hit the closing stretch, five players were tied at 14 under with two in the clubhouse – Ariya Jutanugarn (65) and Jessica Korda (66).

Song knocked them out with a birdie on the 18th get to 15 under, and Park followed with birdies on Nos. 17 and 18. Lindberg spent most of the day leaving her birdie putts well short, but made a boatload of par saves.

“She’s really solid inside 5 feet,” said Taylor, who expected as much.

Golf Channel booth royalty Judy Rankin was equally impressed: “Today she is the best 4- to 5-foot putter I’ve ever seen.”

During the playoff, Lindberg thought about playing under the lights as a kid. She endeavored to treat the longest playoff in ANA history with the same kind of lightheartedness. It worked.

Lindberg will sleep on the lead for a fourth consecutive night. A quick trip to Chipotle, her go-to dinner for the week, and then lights out. She expected to sleep as soundly as she has the rest of the week.

“It’s just a bonus being in this situation,” Lindberg said. “I did all the hard work during the 72 holes to put myself in this position. So now, yeah, it’s just all to win.”

The 18th hole does not set up well for Park. She has a difficult time getting driver over the palm tree in the middle of the fairway. With 3-wood, she runs out of fairway. She was pleased to keep making pars down the stretch to stay in it.

They’ll play 10-17-18 on Monday if necessary. Park said the early start might be an issue after having so many late tee times. But if there’s anything that gets Park’s juices flowing, it’s a major.

The 29-year-old Park, already an LPGA Hall of Famer member, 19-time LPGA winner and Olympic gold medalist, looks to join Betsy Rawls on Monday with eight LPGA major titles.

Lindberg, a 31-year-old Swede who has yet to win on either the LPGA or Ladies European Tour, will take on an LPGA giant once more.

After what transpired on Sunday under the bright lights, no one expects her to back down. Gwk

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