Evian Masters 2012: South Korea's Inbee Park Wins First Evian Masters Title
When she rose from slumber Sunday morning, Inbee Park was co-leader of the 2012 Evian Masters in France. When she turns in tonight, she'll be a champion.
In dramatic fashion, the South Korean outdueled Stacy Lewis and finished Saturday tied with her. According to Associated Press writer Jerome Pugmire, Lewis did not go down without a fight.
In fact, Lewis still had a chance to steal away the win. She fell by two strokes, despite knocking in a putt for eagle on 18.
Meanwhile, Park tore up the course with a final round 66 to finish at 17 under for the tournament.
According to the Olympian, the win was Park's "first victory on tour since she captured the 2008 U.S. Women's Open at Interlachen at the age of 19."
It also caps off a streak of four consecutive top-10 finishes. Park's feelings (via the Olympian interview):
How would I describe in words? It feels great. It's been four years. It felt more than four years. Just really happy.
The victory will also pad Park's pocketbook. Per LPGA.com, she'll cash a $487,500 first-place check that catapults her career earnings to $3,910,291.
Numerous other golfers challenged Park on Sunday, including Hall of Famer and 2006 Evian champion Karrie Webb, who posted a final-round 67. That score was good enough to garner Webb a share of second place with Lewis.
But the real drama occurred on the 18th green. According to the Olympian, "reigning LPGA Champion Shanshan Feng holed out for eagle from a bunker at the 18th to shoot a 6-under 66."
Nevertheless, Feng finished with a share of fourth place. Meanwhile, Webb and Lewis made statements on the closing hole.
Webb birdied the 18th to put some pressure on Park. Webb was one down, then Lewis (who shot a course record 63 on Friday) rolled in a 20-foot eagle putt at the 18th to join Webb at 15-under par.
But Park would not be denied. According to NewsObserver.com, the 23-year old "rolled in a 20-foot birdie to punctuate her victory."
The Evian Masters was Park's second tour win in 83 tournaments. But, as the Olympian points out, it came with a "what-if" at the end.
The shame of this win for Park is that it maybe came a year too early. Next year, the Evian Masters will become a major championship.
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