South Korea’s Inbee Park claims gold in emphatic fashion
Seven-time Major winner five strokes clear of field at finish
South Korea’s Inbee Park shows off her gold medal after winning the women’s golf tournament at the Olympic Golf Course in Rio. Photograph: Scott Halleran/Getty Images
South Korea’s Inbee Park won the first Olympic gold medal in women’s golf since 1900 with a commanding five-stroke victory on Saturday, with no rival coming close to claiming the prize she had prepared for all year.
Park, 28, capped off an exceptional Olympic performance after recovering from injuries that kept her off the course for two months this year.
“I prepared very hard last month to come this week. There was nothing guaranteed because I hadn’t played well this season. I had to overcome a lot of obstacles,” Park said.
Park was all smiles after receiving the gold medal which she can add to her collection of seven Major wins. She shot a five-under 66 on Saturday, ending the tournament at 16 under par.
The main suspense on Saturday was who would join Park on the podium.
World number one Lydia Ko of New Zealand birdied the 18th hole to win the silver medal, edging out China’s Shanshan Feng by one stroke. The 19-year-old player who had the top seed in the tournament got off to slower start but stormed back in the third round with a six-under-par 65, the best round that day.
“It was a dramatic finish,” Ko said.
Park got South Korea’s sole medal, which should be some consolation for the country that some said had a chance to sweep the podium, since it sent the biggest squad of all competing nations with four players in the field.
The United States, which had the second most players who qualified with three, missed out on the podium, which Stacy Lewis said was disappointing.
“I was watching the leaderboard all day and hoping one of us could get on the podium,” Lewis said, who ended tied for fourth and was the highest-placing American.
Ireland’s Leona Maguire finished in a tie for 21st position, a two-under-par final round of 69 helping the amateur player finish on two under. Stephanie Meadow closed with a one-over 72 to end here week on two over and a share of 31st position.