Inbee Park won the Women’s HBSC Champions event, her first win since she claimed the Olympic gold medal in Rio. Park was on-pace throughout the tournament, putting together rounds of 67-67-71-64 to win by one shot over Ariya Jutanugarn. She will move from No. 12 in Rolex Rankings to No. 9 with the win.
What makes her victory all the more impressive is the fact that this is her second event since Rio. Park took six months away from competitive golf to let her injured thumb heal. She finished in a tie for 25th at the Honda LPGA Thailand last week. It took just that one tournament for her to readjust to competitive golf.
“I thought it may take maybe a couple months to kind of get back out on the Tour and to get my rhythm back,” Park said. “You know, I thought I was going to be just a little bit rusty. That’s how I felt exactly last week. This week was totally different. Especially the final round was just what I wanted.”
Michelle Wie held the lead going into the final round, and maintained it up until the fifth hole. After making back-to-back birdies, Wie four-putted the fifth green, and took a double-bogey 7. She went on to have 33 putts in the last round. Her even-par 72 landed her in a tie for fourth, five strokes back of Park.
The difference-maker for Park in her last round was her putting. After a week of strong ball striking, her putter finally got hot on Sunday. She hit 17 greens in regulation in the final round, and made 27 putts.
“I couldn’t make any putts yesterday and obviously I made up for it today,” said Park. “Today was pretty much, everything I looked at, it wanted to drop in.”