SUNG HYUN PARK WINS IN PLAYOFF AT 2018 KPMG WOMEN’S PGA CHAMPIONSHIP
Sung Hyun Park’s 9-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole won the 2018 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Kemper Lakes Golf Club in Kildeer, Illinois. Park carded a 3-under 69 and emerged from a three-player playoff with So Yeon Ryu and Nasa Hataoka, who bowed out on the first playoff hole. Park erased a 4-shot deficit entering the day, thanks in part to a bogey-free round that extended to 20 flawless holes with the playoff. Ryu’s 20-footer for birdie on the 16th hole gave her a 2-shot cushion, but an errant tee shot on No. 17 found water and ultimately rendered a double-bogey and the playoff. Park and Ryu were named co-recipients of the 2017 Rolex Player of the Year, and thus, Park is the first reigning Rolex LPGA Player of the Year to win this Championship since Inbee Park in 2014.
MEMBERSHIP HAS ITS PRIVILEGES FOR PARK
Sung Hyun Park became a two-time major winner with her victory today at Kemper Lakes. She previously won the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open. Park becomes the sixth South Korean to win multiple majors, joining Inbee Park (7), Se Ri Pak (5), So Yeon Ryu (2), In Gee Chun (2) and Jiyai Shin (2).
EXTRA, EXTRA, ... READ ALL ABOUT IT
For the first time since 2006, each of the LPGA’s first three majors of the season have been decided in a playoff. Sung Hyun Park, Nasa Hataoka and So Yeon Ryu were knotted up after 72 holes at 278 at Kemper Lakes.
THE POWER OF THREE FOR SOUTH KOREA
A resident of Orlando, Florida, Sung Hyun Park, is nevertheless the third South Korean to win the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, joining LPGA Hall-of-Famers Inbee Park (2013, ’14, ‘15) and Se Ri Pak (1998, 2002, ’06). South Korea has the second-most KPMG Women’s PGA Champions, as only the United States has more:
|Country||Number of Champions|
SOUTH KOREAN INFLUENCE IS OBVIOUS
Dating to 1998, the year Se Ri Pak won this Championship for the first time, South Koreans have won seven of 21 KPMG Women’s PGA Championships. In that same span, the United States and Sweden are tied for second with four victories apiece.
Including this week at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, Sung Hyun Park has made 12 starts in major championships. She has six top 10s, including four top-3 finishes.
PLAYOFF FOR A 13TH TIME
For the first time, three players advanced to a playoff in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. Today also marked the 13th time the Championship has gone to extra holes and the second in three years (Brooke Henderson defeated Lydia Ko on the first hole in 2016).
As the 2018 KPMG Women’s PGA Champion, Sung Hyun Park has now won majors in consecutive seasons; she claimed the U.S. Women’s Open in July 2017. Park is now the first player to win a major in consecutive seasons since Lydia Ko (2015 Evian Championship, 2016 ANA Inspiration) and In Gee Chun (2015 U.S. Women’s Open, 2016 Evian Championship) did so in both 2015 and 2016.
JAPAN’S NASA HAS LIFTOFF
Japan’s Nasa Hataoka, 19, established the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship final-round 18-hole record with an 8-under-par 64. Making her second career start in the Championship, Hataoka recorded two eagles, five birdies and had a lone bogey at No. 10.
Hataoka surpassed a record that was shared by 10 players, most recently by Brooke Henderson in 2016. Last week, Hataoka posted a closing 63 to win the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship.
She was given the birth name “Nasa” by outer space-loving parents in Ibaraki, Japan. Following her victory in Arkansas, Hataoka explained her family’s intent about her name. They used the inspiration of NASA (the National Aeronautic Space Administration), the International Space Station and humans traveling into space and landing on the moon.
“My parents named me that so that I can achieve something not so easy to attain,” said Hataoka.
In consecutive weeks, Nasa Hataoka has posted final-round, 8-under par scores: a 63 at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship and a 64 on Sunday at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
LESS IS MORE
Entering the 2018 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, Nasa Hataoka ranked 46th on the LPGA Tour in average putts per round with 29.59. She bettered this by more than three strokes at Kemper Lakes, finishing the Championship with an average of 26.5 (106 total), which was second in the field to Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras (26.2).
With her victory, Sung Hyun Park takes home $547,500.