6 Mar 2017

Ko's rival Inbee Park back in a big way

7:23 am on 6 March 2017

World golf number one Lydia Ko has finished the latest event on the LPGA tour in a tie for ninth.

Lydia Ko

It just wasn't Lydia Ko's day. Photo: Photosport

Ko started the day in Singapore with a share of second place, but was pushed down the leaderboard after carding an even par final round.

South Korea's world number two Inbee Park picked up eight strokes today to win the tournament at 19-under par, seven strokes clear of Ko.

It is Ko's second straight top-10 finish.

Inbee Park had not played an LPGA Tour event from last June until this February.

But after the putting display she put on at the HSBC Women's Champions in Singapore - en route to a course record 8-under-par 64 - Park announced to the world she was back in a big way.

The 28-year-old, who captured this event in 2015, struggled with a major thumb injury a year ago and only returned to the golf course to capture the gold medal in Rio de Janeiro at the Olympics in August before shutting it down for the rest of 2016.

She finished tied for 25th at her LPGA Tour debut a few weeks ago at the Honda LPGA Thailand before last night's victory.

Park managed to hold off a charging Ariya Jutanugarn - who shot a final-round 66 - just one stroke separating them.

Park, almost leisurely, made the HSBC Women's Champions her 18th LPGA Tour victory.

"My putting was amazing today, obviously," explained Park, who made 27 putts after hitting 17 of 18 Greens in Regulation."

"Today was pretty much, everything I looked at, it wanted to drop in. It was very consistent ball-striking all week, and obviously there were a lot of birdie opportunities out there and I was able to convert many of them today," continued Park.

Sung Hyun Park finished third, three strokes off her compatriot.

Canadian Brooke Henderson finished in a tie for fourth with South Korea's Ha Na Jang and Michelle Wie - the American's first top five finish on the LPGA Tour since 2014.

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