LPGA 'Tiger' thanks Tiger after HSBC Women’s World Championship victory

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LPGA 'Tiger' thanks Tiger after HSBC Women’s World Championship victory

LPGA Tour

LPGA 'Tiger' thanks Tiger after HSBC Women’s World Championship victory

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The LPGA player known as “Tiger” credited Tiger Woods for her first victory of the season. Sung Hyun Park, the most popular player in South Korea, met Woods at a recent TaylorMade photo shoot. Park gave the legend a shout-out at her winner’s press conference at the HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore.

“If Tiger is watching this interview,” said Park, “then I would want to say that because we met, you gave me such a good energy, that made me win this tournament.”

The 25-year-old burst onto the scene at the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open at Trump National, though she was largely overshadowed that week by President Donald Trump, who watched her victory from his private skybox.

This marks the sixth LPGA victory for the powerful Park, whose nicknames include Namdalla (“I am different”) and Dak Gong (“Shut up and attack”). Park’s sizzling 64 put her at 15-under 273 for the tournament, vaulting her ahead of Minjee Lee, who finished two strokes back.

“I still have four more wins to go,” said Park of her goals for 2019. “I didn’t think I would win this fast and I’m really happy. I used to have a tough beginning in the last years, and this first win so fast, I think I will play really comfortable the rest of my season.”

World No. 1 Ariya Jutanugarn held the lead entering the final round but stumbled in with a 75 that included two double-bogeys. She dropped into a share of eighth.

Asked if she could chase down Ariya in the rankings race as she did at Sentosa Golf Club, the shy Park came through loud and clear: “Yes, it is my goal to be ranked world No. 1 again this year.”

David Jones has caddied for Park close to two years now. If the LPGA had a driving stat for strokes gained off the tee, Jones said, Park would undoubtedly be No. 1 judging by the last two weeks. She played her first event of the season last week in Thailand.

“It happens in the men’s game and it happens in our game,” said Jones. “Every 10 or 15 years, someone comes along that just has raised the bar, and she is that person.”

The self-taught Park struggled on the back nine in previous rounds but shot a flawless 32 on Sunday.

“The course, if you get a little bit greedy, it can bite you,” said Jones. “That’s what happened for two days. We probably got a little bit too aggressive when we’re on form, and the course being set up as it was, put us out.”

MinJee Lee notched her second consecutive runner-up finish of 2019. In position to give Park a run on Sunday, a mistake on the drivable par-four 14th, set up at 282 yards, cost her dearly.

“I thought I hit a good drive,” said Park, “… just over-drew a little bit and the wind was left-to-right. Yeah, just ended up catching the bunker and went into the tongue of the bunker in the rough.

“I thought I hit a pretty good chip shot but probably just a little bit short because if you go over, it’s going to be down the swale. I was just thinking about that, but I feel like I didn’t hit such a bad chip shot. Just came out a little bit short and then I decided to chip it again, which I didn’t really hit a good chip shot. So that was pretty much the killer.”

Amy Olson was the top American in Singapore, finishing in a share of fifth. The pride of North Dakota tried to put the backstopping controversy that happened in Thailand behind her as she held the lead after two rounds. Olson said putting out a statement on social media at the start of the week helped in that regard.

“Yeah, for me, I think it was good for me to be able to be heard, have my voice heard,” said Olson, “because there were a lot of voices out there. For me, it was just important to be able to say it and to move on.”

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