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Park shows why she's No. 1, wins LPGA title

The SportsXchange

PITTSFORD, N.Y. --- No one can ever say Inbee Park isn't a fighter.

The No. 1 player in the Rolex Women's World Golf Rankings captured her second straight major championship Sunday, defeating Catriona Matthew of Scotland with an 18-foot a birdie on the third playoff hole in the Wegmans LPGA Championship at Locust Hill Country Club.

Park, a 25-year-old from South Korea, became the third player in the last 40 years to win the first two majors of the women's season, joining Annika Sorenstam in 2005 and Pat Bradley in 1986.

In winning for the sixth time in her last 22 LPGA Tour starts, including the Kraft Nabisco Championship to start the major season, she was the last player standing after a 36-hole marathon was required on Sunday because the first round was rained out on Thursday.

In the end, Park needed 39 holes before claiming her seventh LPGA victory, including three majors, the first coming in the 2009 U.S. Women's Open.

Park did it by coming from five strokes behind Morgan Pressel after nine holes of the third round on Sunday morning on a course where birdies are hard to come by.

With four birdies on the back nine of that morning round, she turned the deficit into one-shot lead when the final round began.

Park extended her lead to three shots by the time she reached the 14th tee in the final round, but her swing began to get away from her. She dropped shots at holes 14, 16 and 18 to shoot 3-over-par 75 in the final round and allow Matthew into a playoff.

The 43-year-old Matthew, who 2009 Ricoh Women's British Open among her four titles on the LPGA Tour, closed with a bogey-free 68 and got into the playoff when Park made a bogey on the 72nd hole.

After both players made par on the opening two playoff holes, Park made a birdie on the par-4 18th to secure the win after Matthew hit into the rough and was scrambling simply to save par.

Pressel, trying to win for the first time since the 2008 Kapalua LPGA Championship, was tied for the lead in the final round, but carded three bogeys in the last nine holes and shot 75 to tie for third with Suzann Pettersen of Norway, who closed with a 65.

Pettersen and Pressel finished one stroke out of the playoff.

NOTES: The best round of the tournament was turned in by Suzann Pettersen, who carded a 7-under 65 in the final round. That moved her all the way up from a tie for 31st at the start of the day to her tie for third. ... Amateur Lydia Ko, the 16-year-old from New Zealand who last year became the youngest-ever winner on the LPGA Tour, continued her strong play with a tie for 17th. Ko's 3-under-par 69 in the final round was her best of the tournament. ... Defending champion Shanshan Feng, the first player from Mainland China to win a major, closed with a 70 to finish in a tie for ninth that included and Michelle Wie, who finished with a 71.
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