SINGAPORE - South Korean golfer Park Sung-hyun overcame her Jekyll-and-Hyde performances in the second and third rounds to play a consistent and scintillating final 18 holes in eight-under 64 to win the US$1.5million (S$2.02 million) HSBC Women's World Championship on Sunday (March 3).
"I'm really happy with the way I played today and I didn't know my first win of the year would come so early," said the 25-year-old, who triumphed with a 15-under 273 total.
"Usually, I am pretty unstable at the start of the season but, with this early win, I think I will play pretty comfortably for the rest of the season."
Earlier, the commentators had described her as an enigma, and for good reason.
On Friday and Saturday, Park fired a total of nine birdies on the front nine, only to capitulate in the second half of her rounds with six bogeys against the lone birdie at Sentosa Golf Club's New Tanjong Course.
In the final round, the former world No. 1 kept up her solid early form, recording five birdies against one bogey.
However, this time, Park did not falter on the home stretch, adding four more birdies on the back nine to claim the US$225,000 winner's cheque.
Australian Minjee Lee had managed to keep pace with the 2018 Women's PGA Championship and 2017 US Women's Open champion, and actually took the outright lead at the 13th hole.
However, she bogeyed the par-four 14th and had eventually settled second spot, two strokes behind Park after a final-round 69.
Meanwhile, overnight leader and world No. 1 Ariya Jutanugarn was hampered by two double-bogeys at the par-three fourth hole and par-five 13th.
The 23-year-old Thai carded a three-over 75 to finish joint-eighth with an eight-under 280 total.
Local pro Amanda Tan concluded her campaign with a 77 for a 35-over 323 total to finish last among the 60 players who completed all four rounds.
On Thursday, defending champion Michelle Wie had withdrawn during the first round with a wrist complaint while South Koreans Amy Yang, who won the Honda LPGA Thailand two Sundays ago, and Kim Sei-young also pulled out because of flu and a back injury respectively.