Park wins North Texas LPGA, third win in 2013

  • Associated Press
  • Sunday, April 28, 2013 4:47pm
  • Sports

IRVING, Texas — Inbee Park shot a bogey-free 4-under 67 on Sunday to win the inaugural North Texas LPGA Shootout by a stroke over Carlota Ciganda, whose chance for a first LPGA victory was wiped out in a two-hole stretch.

Park, the world’s No. 1 women’s player, finished at 13-under 271 for her third victory this season and fifth in her last 18 starts. The 24-year-old South Korean sank a 4-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th after Ciganda also birdied the hole even after a drive into the right rough.

After starting the day two strokes behind Ciganda, Park went ahead to stay with pars on Nos. 14 and 15, where her playing partner ran into trouble. Ciganda had bogey and double bogey on those holes, part of her 70.

Fifth-ranked Suzann Pettersen from Norway, the winner in Hawaii last week, had a closing 66 to get to 10 under and finish third. Hee Young Park (64) and So Yeon Ryu (68) tied for fourth at 275.

Ciganda matched the world’s top player shot for shot early on.

They both had birdies at the 403-yard 8th hole, where Park knocked hers in before Ciganda, who responded with a slight fist pump when her ball dropped into the cup. They both had pars at No. 9, where Park was closer to the hole even though she was missed the green to the left, and they traded birdies again at the par-5 10th.

Everything turned in a two-hole stretch.

Ciganda’s drive at the 416-yard 14th hole settled in the right rough with a tree between her and the green, and her shot from about 130 yards clipped a branch and came up short. She had a chance to save par but her 6-foot putt was short.

The approach by Park was on line, and the second bounce on the green was near the hole before rolling away. Park saved par with two putts, staying at 12 under and getting within a stroke of the lead that was hers for good after the next hole.

After stepping away from her approach at No. 15, to a green surrounded by water on three sides, Ciganda then hit a shot that went to the right and then rolled down into the water. Ciganda had to go back to a drop zone, where the 22-year-old Spaniard had a decent pitch before her first putt rolled over the left edge of the green for a double bogey.

Another two-putt par by Park put her in the lead to stay.

With the $195,000 check for first place, Inbee exceeded $6 million in career earnings and will be No. 1 for the third week in a row.

Caroline Masson had a 75 and finished eight shots back. The LPGA Tour rookie from Germany led after each of the first two rounds and started the final round tied for second with Park.

Hee Young Park’s 64 was the best round of the day on the 6,439-yard course with plenty of sloping fairways and raised greens. When Park finished her round, the South Korean was 9 under and alone in third behind Ciganda and Inbee Park.

Stacy Lewis, the Texas native and No. 2 player in the world, had a closing 66 when all six birdies and her only bogey came between Nos. 7-17. She tied for seventh for her sixth top-10 finish this season.

At the end of her round, Lewis signed the back brace of a 6-year-old Dallas girl who was diagnosed with scoliosis at 18 months old. Lewis wore a similar brace 18 hours a day for seven years after being diagnosed with scoliosis at age 11 and missed her first collegiate season after a spinal fusion.

Third-ranked Na Yeon Choi, among the four players tied for seventh, had 44 consecutive bogey-free holes and was 9 under before consecutive bogeys at Nos. 10-12. She went on to finish a round of 72.

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