Golf: Park In Bee wins LPGA Founders Cup by five strokes

Seven-time Major champion Park In Bee birdied four straight holes on the back nine and finished with a 19-under total of 269.
Seven-time Major champion Park In Bee birdied four straight holes on the back nine and finished with a 19-under total of 269.PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - South Korea's Park In Bee stormed to victory in the LPGA Founders Cup on Sunday, firing a bogey-free five-under 67 for a five-stroke triumph.

The seven-time Major champion birdied four straight holes on the back nine and finished with a 19-under total of 269.

England's Laura Davies, 54, headed a group sharing second on 274, her bid to become the oldest winner of an LPGA title ending with a final-round 69 at Wildfire Golf Club in Phoenix, Arizona.

Davies was tied with Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn, who closed with a 70, and American Marina Alex, who carded a 68.

Park captured her 19th LPGA Tour title, and her first since March 2017 at the HSBC Women's Champions (now known as the HSBC Women's World Championship) in Singapore.

She teed it up this week for just the second time since a seven-month break, during which she contemplated retirement.

"It feels great, especially after the long break I didn't know how I'd be able to compete," the 29-year-old said. "Being able to contend and win is a great feeling."

She played the weekend without a bogey. She was in the lead after a 63 on Saturday, and opened with a birdie at the first.

She then parred her next 10 holes as Davies pulled to within one stroke. But Park pulled away with birdies at the 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th to take command.

She moved into a tie for 28th on the all-time LPGA wins list and now has a win in six of the last seven seasons. The year she did not win - 2016 - was the same year she won Olympic Gold in Rio de Janeiro.

Davies, who powered into contention with a 63 on Saturday, was seeking her first LPGA title since the 2001 Rochester Invitational.

In her 32nd LPGA campaign, she admitted she was feeling the nerves on the first tee as a long-awaited win beckoned.

"It's about as nervous as I've ever felt," she said. "I nearly shanked it. "It was a bogey, but then I chipped in for eagle at the second and it calmed me down."

She would add three more birdies before a bogey at No. 18 cost her sole possession of second place. Nevertheless, she was more than pleased with her week.

"It would have been huge," she said of a win. "Not having won for God knows how many years on the LPGA, it would have been huge.

"But I'm actually quite pleased. It's a great finish for me. I was four-over after six (holes) on the first day, so just to get into this position is amazing."

Her tie for second was her best finish since the 2007 Honda LPGA Thailand, where she also finished second.

"Maybe now people will ask me when I'm going to retire," joked Davies. "I can just tell them I finished second last week."