PARK Inbee, only 24, showed true grit and determination to win the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia title at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club on Sunday.
The portly South Korean, who was in the shadows for the first two rounds with a 69 and 68, surged into the picture with a 65 and won the title on a 67.
Her 15-under 266 was phenomenal, considering the many stoppages and the soggy greens at the KLGCC.
He four-round statistics showed that consistency won her the title, something which the four Malaysians in the LPGA field did not possess.
Inbee hit 14 fairways consistently in all four rounds, and she also hit 18 greens in each round.
Amazingly, she did not enter a single bunker in the 72 holes, and her driving distance was a consistent 237.
The former US Open champion came into the tournament with nine consecutive top-10s, including finishing in the top-three in her last five Tour events including a victory at the Evian Masters in July, her first Tour win in four years.
She carried that blistering form into the weekend, shooting rounds of 65-67 which featured 12 birdies and was the only golfer in a world-class field to post four rounds in the 60s throughout the week.
The World No 6 earned US$285,000 (RM872,000) for her second victory of the year and strengthened her lead at the top of the Tour’s money list.
She said: “I’m very happy to win. This is the first time I’ve won two tournaments in a year so I’m really proud of myself for that. I think everything about my golf has improved — hitting the ball, chipping, putting. I worked really hard on my swing and I’ve been hitting it very solid all year.”
The same can’t be said about the two Malaysian pros, who were consistently in the rough, bunker or in trouble for a chip off the greens.
Ainil Johani’s four-found scorecard was colourful, as it had a total of six double bogeys, 15 bogeys, and only 11 birdies.
Jean Chua also had a dismal outing, with her scorecard littered with triple and double bogeys and she took eight shots on the par-four ninth, and five shots on the par-three 17th in the final round.
Jean was so ashamed of her final total of 19-over 303, that she wished she was invisible after handing in her card.
“I am so ashamed of my score, it’s really terrible, This is my worst score for a very long time, and it had to happen at home,” said Jean.
She attributed her bad scores to mental pressure: “Gosh, the pressure of playing back home is too much for me to handle. I have played for the last three years on sponsor’s exemption, but I want to qualify on merit next year to ease some of the pressure of carrying the sponsor’s card,” said the US-based pro.
Amateur Aretha Pan, improved from last year’s 67th place finish to 61 this year to be the best Malaysian.
“This year I played with better players and I watched how they played. They are really good with the iron and their putting is really good. I want to be like them.”