New York (AFP) – Annie Park produced a scintillating final round to claim her first career at the ShopRite LPGA Classic on Sunday.
The 23-year-old from New York, who had started the day in the chasing pack at eight under, carded an eight-under-par 63 to claim victory by one shot.
Park’s flawless round included six birdies and an eagle, leaving her with a 54-hole aggregate 197, 16 under par for the tournament.
Park, who is ranked 236th in the world, was ecstatic and finally ending her wait for a title at a course close to where she grew up.
“I can’t really describe it in words,” Park said. “I’ve been through a lot of struggles, and thank my family for being here.
“There are so many people that supported me. Without them, I can’t be here where I am today, so I thank them so much.”
The win sealed a dramatic final day at the Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club course at Galloway, New Jersey.
With weather interrupting play on Saturday, players returned to the course to complete the second round.
The momentum appeared to be firmly with South Korea’s Kim Sei-Young, who fired a course record 61 including 10 birdies to take a two-shot lead heading into the final round.
Kim however was unable to muster a challenge in the final round as several players went on a hot streak to surge up the leaderboard.
Kim closed with a one-under-par 70, leaving her at 13 under for the tournament.
Instead, the final round fireworks were left to Park, Japan’s Sakura Yokomine and Marina Alex.
Yokomine appeared to be on course to become only the second woman in LPGA Tour history to break 60 in an incredible final round charge.
The 32-year-old reached the 18th tee needing an eagle to match Annika Sorenstam’s 59 shot at the Standard Register Ping tournament in Phoenix in 2001.
Yokomine was unable to conjure a grandstand finish however and had to settle for a par, leaving with a course-record equalling 61.
Yokomine’s round included an eagle and eight birdies, leaving her 15 under for the tournament, one shot behind Park.
Alex meanwhile finished in third on 14 under after a closing seven-under-par 64, a round which included a hole-in-one on the par-three 17th. She almost followed that up with an eagle on the last, before settling for birdie.
“It was an incredible day,” she said. “Got off to a really good start and just tried to carry that momentum the entire day.
“That finish was unbelievable, hole-in-one and then almost eagle on the last. Just a really good round of golf.”