Golf: Park to regain top ranking with tied-2nd place in LA Open, Moriya wins to join sister on Tour champions' list

Park In Bee hits a shot during the round one of the HSBC Women's World Championship golf tournament in Singapore, on March 1, 2018.
Park In Bee hits a shot during the round one of the HSBC Women's World Championship golf tournament in Singapore, on March 1, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

(REUTERS, AFP) - South Korea's Park In Bee will return to the top of the women's world golf rankings for the first time in 21/2 years after finishing tied for second at the LPGA's LA Open on Sunday (April 22).

She shot a three-under 68 in the final round at Wilshire Country Club to finish tied with compatriot Ko Jin Young (70) in second on 10-under 274, two shots behind winner Moriya Jutanugarn (68).

The 23-year-old Thai finally joined her younger sister Ariya in the winner's circle, as the Bangkok siblings join Annika and Charlotta Sorenstam as the only sisters to win on the US LPGA Tour.

Seven-time Major champion Park will jump from third place to overtake China's Feng Shanshan as No. 1 when the rankings are updated later on Monday. Feng's reign lasted 23 weeks.

"It's good to be back, obviously, in No. 1 spot," said Park, who has had to overcome hand and back injuries over the last couple of seasons. "That really wasn't my goal playing this year; just came as (a) present. So it's great.

"I mean ... all the rankings are so close together. It can change every week. It's just hard to keep track. I'm just trying to play golf, and doesn't matter where I am at."

Olympic champion Park needed to finish sixth or better to have a shot at recapturing top spot.

Park, who entered the final round seeking her second win of the season, uncharacteristically missed a few fairways and a number of birdie putts.

The 29-year-old has spent a total of 92 weeks atop the world rankings during three different stretches between 2013 and 2015. Her last stint was a 19-week run that ended in October 2015.

Former world No. 1 Ariya has been the conquering hero over the past two years, becoming the first player from Thailand to win a major championship when she claimed the 2016 British Open.

But even before Sunday's win, Moriya had put her own stamp on the Tour, winning the rookie of the year award six years ago.

She was at a loss for words as she celebrated the win on the 18th green with her family members and friends.

"My sister is crying more than me," said Moriya, as she wiped away tears of joy. "I can't tell you what I feel right now."