women’s u.S. open SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. — Inbee Park has many golfing goals.
Etching her name alongside Babe Zaharias was never one of them.
They’re the only two players to win the first three women’s majors of the year. Park became the first to accomplish the feat in the modern era Sunday with her second U.S. Women’s Open title.
“Trying to put my name next to hers means just so much,” Park said. “I would think I would never get there; it’s somewhere that I’ve never dreamed of. But all of a sudden, I’m there.”
The world’s top-ranked player finished at 8-under-par 280 to win by four strokes. Her 2-over 74 in the final round was more than enough, with Sebonack Golf
Club’s trying conditions keeping any rivals from making a run.
Only three players finished under par for the tournament.
Fellow South Korean I.K. Kim also shot 74 for her second major runner-up finish.
Zaharias won 1950’s first three majors — when there were only three. Now there are five, so “Grand Slam” might not an adequate term if Park wins all of them.
The 24-year-old Park won the Kraft Nabisco and LPGA Championship for her first two major titles of the year. Up next is the Women’s British Open at St. Andrews on Aug. 1-4.
The Evian Championship is Sept. 12-15. Park won the French event last year before it became a major.
Park contemplated the current definition of a Grand Slam.
“So I think the British Open is one I have to win,” she said. “So it would be great if I could win five, but I still think four means a Grand Slam.”
Laughing, she added: “I think four out of five is very big.”
Ahead by four strokes at the start of the round, Park birdied the ninth and 10th holes to extend her lead. She has won six times this year, including the last three consecutive tournaments. Park added to another historic U.S. Women’s Open win in 2008, when she became the event’s youngest champion at 19.
“I didn’t know what was going on at that time,” Park said. “I played very good golf then, but I didn’t know what I was playing for, and that was just my first win.
“It was a great championship then, but now I think I really appreciate more and I really know what this means.”
So Yeon Ryu shot 72 to finish third at 1 under. South Korean players took the top three spots and have won the past five majors.
Ryu and Na Yeon Choi, the last two U.S. Women’s Open champs, sprayed Park with champagne after she made her final putt on the 18th green.
Kim had what would have qualified as a sensational week if not for Park, finishing at least three strokes better than everyone but the player currently dominating the sport.
“You can obviously feel for someone like I.K. Kim who would be winning any other U.S. Open on this golf course if it weren’t for Inbee,” said seven-time major champion Karrie Webb.
Americans Paula Creamer (72) and Angela Stanford (74) and England’s Jodi Ewart Shadoff (76) tied for fourth at 1 over.