Sport

Park beats Ryu, Hataoko in playoff to win KPMG Women's PGA

Park beats Ryu, Hataoko in playoff to win KPMG Women's PGA

A week after Nasa Hataoka earned her first Tour win, the 19-year-old Japanese narrowly missed out on capturing her first major when she finished runner-up to South Korea's Park Sung Hyun at the Women's PGA Championship Sunday after a three-person playoff.

Park Sung-hyun poses with the championship trophy after winning the 2018 KPMG PGA Championship at Kemper Lakes Golf Club on July 1, 2018, in Kildeer, Illinois.

Park, last year's LPGA Rookie of the Year, won her second title of the year after the LPGA Texas Classic in May.

They headed Spaniard Carlota Ciganda (69) by one stroke, while New Zealander Lydia Ko matched the best score of the week (66) to vault within two shots.

"I did feel nerves going [into the playoff], but on the other hand, I haven't won a major yet, so I felt like I had nothing to lose", Hataoka said. It was her fourth LPGA title overall after last year's USA and Canadian Women's Open crowns.

She posted an 11-under 205 total while Canadian Brooke Henderson shot 70 to be alone in second place on eight-under.

She started the round on a strong note with birdies on four of the first nine holes and three in a row on the back, starting with a 20-foot putt on the par-5 11th.

As well as she played, Ryu also got an assist at the par-five seventh, where her second shot landed in a woman's food container, probably preventing the ball from going into a water hazard.

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Both Ryu and Park left themselves with birdie putts at the par-4 18th, but both narrowly missed the attempt that would have sealed the title.

"After the front nine I couldn't actually expect to be leading after the round", Ryu said after making four back-nine birdies to surge pass a spluttering Henderson. "I've been hitting it close and giving myself good looks for birdie".

After watching the play unfold, Ryu calmly drained her lengthy birdie putt to reach 12-under par.

Hataoka posted her 64 and waited almost two hours before Ryu and Park finished regulation. "I think I've been waiting this time for such a long time, since I've been having a tough year this year especially, and this is my second major win in two years".

Former KPMG champion Henderson set the pace for most of the day and held a two-shot advantage at one stage, but then bogeys on 14 and 16 - coupled with birdies for Ryu - saw the top of the leaderboard change dramatically.

Hataoka nearly pulled off the greatest final-round comeback in the history women's major championship golf. After settling for a double bogey, she was tied with Park and Nataoka for the lead.

"To be honest, I got less nervous during the playoff", she said.


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