Inbee Park wins women's golf gold in Rio
South Korean five shots clear of Lydia Ko
Feng Shanshan of China claims bronze
Inbee Park has seven major titles to her name, a career grand slam and is a former world No 1.
Now the South Korean can add the title of first Olympic champion in women’s golf since 1900 to her CV after holding off the challenge of world No. 1 Lydia Ko and China’s Feng Shanshan at Rio 2016.
Park recorded a five-under-par 66 Saturday to finish on 16-under-par 268 for the week and a convincing five shots clear of New Zealand’s Ko in the silver medal position.
“I feel extremely honored and proud that I get to win a gold medal in the Olympic Games,” world No. 5 Park said.
“It feels truly unreal. I am just so happy to be standing on the highest spot on the podium. I have won many tournaments but I have never felt this before.”
Park qualified for the LPGA Tour Hall of Fame this year, but has struggled with form and injury in recent months and missed July’s British Open.
Her triumph pushed South Korea closer to its pre-Games medal target and eighth in the overall table.
“I think we were hoping for a 10th-place finish this Olympics and hopefully my gold medal will help us go into the top 10.”
Park started the day two shots clear of Ko, whose career-first hole-in-one Friday had helped push her into contention, and one further clear of Feng.
But with Ko and Feng only able to notch two-under-par 69 Saturday, Park’s superior form on the day was always going to secure gold.
Japan’s Harukyo Nomura carded 65 but just missed out on the medal positions in a tie for fourth with Stacey Lewis of the US – who matched Park’s 66 – and South Korea’s Hee Young Yang.
World No. 3 Brooke Henderson tied for seventh with Britain’s Charley Hull and Australian Minjee Lee, as the 18-year-old Canadian closed with 67.
Russia’s Maria Verchenova shot a hole-in-one on the par-three fourth hole as she carded a course-record 62 also featuring nine birdies.
The 30-year-old climbed up the leaderboard to tie for 16th on four under par.