Park Hyun-kyung bags first professional win at Korean LPGA Championship as live golf returns

James Corrigan
The Telegraph
Park Hyun-kyung - Park Hyun-kyung bags first professional win at Korean LPGA Championship as live golf returns - SHUTTERSTOCK
Park Hyun-kyung - Park Hyun-kyung bags first professional win at Korean LPGA Championship as live golf returns - SHUTTERSTOCK

Perhaps the hug on the 18th green was not appropriate in these times but nobody could argue with the sentiment. 

Park Hyun-kyung’s father had caddied for his daughter all week and when the 22-year-old finally broke her maiden tag with a one-shot win in the KLPGA Championship, he could not resist a victory embrace. The mask he wore made it yet more of incongruous sight.

Park’s fellow members of the KLPGA Tour were far more respectful of the regulations, enacting elbow bumps and, as is tradition, throwing rose petals. After nine weeks, the game of golf at last had a new champion on a major tour to celebrate.

As the sport looks to the future, Park more than fits the bill. She had already broken into the world’s top 100 after five top-sixes - all Park needed was the win. And she chose an extremely resonant and, indeed, lucrative event in which to complete her graduation. 

Park’s 67 to overhaul a three-shot deficit on Lim Hee-jeong (71) - who had to be content with a share of second with halfway pacesetter Bae Seon-woo (68) - earned her a cheque for £150,000, along with the prestige of lifting one of her home circuit’s most coveted pieces of silverware, as emphasised by a field boasting three of the world’s top 10.

Park Hyun-kyung (L) of South Korea celebrates after winning during the final round of the KLPGA Championship golf tournament at Lakewood Country Club in Yangju, South Korea, 17 May 2020 - SHUTTERSTOCK
Park Hyun-kyung (L) of South Korea celebrates after winning during the final round of the KLPGA Championship golf tournament at Lakewood Country Club in Yangju, South Korea, 17 May 2020 - SHUTTERSTOCK

"The moment I had always dreamed of finally has come true," Park said at the prize-giving ceremony, her tears trickling down into her own face mask. “I was so disappointed not to have been part of that winner’s group last year and I am so happy that I got the first win out of the way in the first tournament of the year. I don’t think the next win will come easily for me. I have to keep trying.”

There is no KLPGA tournament for two weeks, although with the weekend cancellation of Korea’s Men's Open there are obvious fears concerning the schedule. Meanwhile, in America, the LPGA Tour has put back its restart date by a week to July 23.

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