Published: Wed, April 04, 2018
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

Park In-bee looks forward to fresh start at LPGA major playoff

Park In-bee looks forward to fresh start at LPGA major playoff

South Korean Park and Sweden's Lindberg played the par-five 18th hole four times, after American Jennifer Song was eliminated on the third play-off hole on Sunday.

The victory on Mission Hills Country Club's Dinah Shore Tournament Course was Lindberg's first career LPGA Tour win and it came against stiff competition in Park, who has 19 LPGA titles and seven majors. With portable lights and the scoreboard helping illuminate the green, Park holed a 6-footer for par and Lindberg made a short putt to match.

"I absolutely had to make par there, and I needed the others to miss their birdie chances", Park said.

The 31-year-old Swede shot a 2-under 70 on another hot and mostly calm day at Mission Hills, pulling away when playing partner Sung Hyun Park collapsed on the back nine. The play-off was forced into Monday because darkness halted play on Sunday night after four extra holes.

Park couldn't answer from 20 feet below the hole, making Lindberg's childhood dream a reality.

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Lindberg's victory was her first on the LPGA Tour - only the fifth time a player has made the ANA Inspiration their maiden triumph.

"I had a bag packed in the hotel room with clothes and I forgot it!" said a drenched but happy Gunnila, who joined the fun in Poppie's Pond with Jan and Daniel. "I had a couple of opportunities".

Park, world No. 9, started the final round four strokes behind Lindberg, the overnight leader.

It didn't work out quite as planned: Lindberg three-putted, lagging to around 5 feet and then sliding what would have been the winning birdie putt right of the hole. "I knew it was getting a little bit on the edge there, but, yeah, we both finished with a par, which is good in the dark, I think".

All shot par-par the first two playoff holes.

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"I can't believe that I can call myself a major champion", Lindberg said.

"I dreamt of this moment ever since I was a kid". This one was not an easy major win for her as well.

Lindberg won the event wire-to-wire, buoyed by her 12-under score through the first two rounds. She returned to play a month ago in Singapore after not playing since the Women's British Open in August.

"I know that I can be up here, and I'm kind of disappointed that I wasn't able to make those putts in the playoffs, but I learned a lot", Song said on Sunday.

"The putt Pernilla made on the last was a champion's putt", Park said.

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The leaderboard got so crowded in late stretches that three golfers were tied at the top with five more players within a shot. She set a goal for 2018 to win, maybe something smaller like a Ladies European Tour title, never imagining that her game, and her loved ones, would make such a leap.

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