Southampton, N.Y. — Inbee Park’s dominant season continued on Sunday, as she cruised to a historic 4-stroke victory at the U.S. Women’s Open.
In addition to recording her third consecutive win and her sixth overall this season, the 24-year-old South Korean captured her third straight major victory this year, joining Babe Zaharias as the only women in LPGA history to do so.
“I’m just very honored to put my name next to someone like Babe Zaharias. I think it’s such a big honor,” Park said about her accomplishment. “I don’t know what I just did today. It’s something very great, but it’s scary to think what I’m capable of doing.”
Park also became just the fourth person on tour to win three majors in a calendar year. She joined by Zaharias (1950), Mickey Wright (1961) and Pat Bradley (1986).
She will have a chance to become the first male or female golfer to win four majors in a season at the Women’s British Open at St. Andrew’s in August.
Park closed with a 2-over 74 during her final round at Sebonack Golf Club to finish the tournament at 8-under-par 280 and collect her fourth career major victory. Park also won the 2008 U.S. Women’s Open to go along with her three majors this season.
I.K. Kim also shot 74 on Sunday to finish in second place at 4-under 284, while So Yeon Ryu (72) was to only other player to finish in red numbers at minus-1.
Paula Creamer (72), Angela Stanford (74) and Jodi Ewart Shadoff (76) shared fourth at 1-over.
Park entered the final round with a comfortable 4-stroke lead over Kim that dipped to three when Kim birdied the second, but she gave that stroke right back with a bogey at the fourth.
After Park and Kim each parred the fourth to remain at 10- and 6-under, respectively, Park’s advantage again dropped to three when she tripped to a bogey at the sixth.
However, Kim failed to take advantage of the mistake as she also dropped a shot at the same hole. The duo again traded bogeys at the seventh.
Park failed to add to her cushion when she missed a short birdie putt at the eighth, but then stuck her second shot at the par-4 ninth within 10 feet and converted her birdie effort to move five strokes clear of Kim at 9-under.
Park’s cushion stretched to six with a lengthy birdie putt at the 10th before she 2-putted for bogey at the 14th and followed that with another bogey at the 15th to again drop to minus-8.
Kim, meanwhile, did not capitalize on her opponents struggles and parred her final 11 holes to remain at 4-under, allowing Park to calmly par her last three holes to cruise to her ninth career win.
“I’ve just done three majors in a row now,” said Park. “I think it’s too early to think about the next one. I think I really want to enjoy the moment as it is in the moment. I mean, grand slam is very big. I probably wouldn’t get this kind of opportunity ever again. I know this year is a good opportunity for me.”
NOTES: Zaharias won all three majors in 1950 — the Titleholders Championship, the Women’s Western Open and the U.S. Women’s Open … Park joined Susie Maxwell Berning, Donna Caponi, Sandra Haynie, Meg Mallon, Hollis Stacy, and Laura Davies with her fourth career major victory. Only 15 players in history have won more than four … The last player to win three consecutive tournaments on the LPGA Tour was Lorena Ochoa, who won four in a row in 2008 … LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame member Nancy Lopez holds the LPGA record with five consecutive victories in 1978 … Casie Cathrea captured the low amateur honors at 9-over-par 297.