Inbee Park wins North Texas LPGA, 3rd win in '13

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 28, 2013 at 8:10 pm •  Published: April 28, 2013
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IRVING, Texas (AP) — Inbee Park was already preparing to congratulate Carlota Ciganda for winning the inaugural North Texas LPGA Shootout.

Park, the top-ranked woman in the world, was in the middle of a solid final round and still trailed by two strokes after the playing partners both had birdies at the par-5 10th on Sunday.

Everything changed in a two-hole stretch, when Park went ahead with consecutive pars. The 24-year-old South Korean went on to a bogey-free 4-under 67 that put her one stroke ahead of Ciganda, good enough for her third victory this season and fifth in her last 18 starts.

"She was hitting fairways and greens and making putts," said Park, who finished at 13 under. "And I thought I played really great today, but I just missed a lot of birdie opportunities, so I thought this tournament might not be mine because I missed that many opportunities and Carlota was playing great golf. But she made a couple mistakes on the back nine."

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, and Park's par had her within a stroke of the lead.

After stepping away from her approach at No. 15, to a green surrounded by water on three sides, Ciganda 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 6.

Park had another par and never trailed again.

"I'm very happy with my round and with my week. ... I had two bad holes on the back nine," Ciganda said.

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. It was her sixth career LPGA victory, along with four more wins in Japan.

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 played last season on the Ladies European Tour, where she was the top rookie and the top money winner — the first player since Laura Davies in 1985 to accomplish that feat. She won twice in Europe last year and now has her best LPGA finish.

At the 403-yard 8th hole, Park made a birdie before Ciganda followed with one of her own and 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.