Inbee Park ekes out win in Thailand

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CHONBURI, Thailand — Inbee Park of South Korea took advantage of overnight leader Ariya Jutanugarn’s triple bogey on the last hole Sunday to secure a one-stroke victory in the LPGA Thailand.

Jutanugarn blew a two-stroke lead on No. 18 when she first had to take a drop and then missed a three-foot putt to force a playoff. The 17-year-old Thai golfer, who had a hole-in-one earlier in the round, was moved to tears as the putt lipped out, while a surprised Park started celebrating in the clubhouse with her caddie.

“I just didn’t’ expect this kind of finish,” said Park, adding that she sympathized with Jutanagarn. “If I was in Ariya’s situation, I would be very, very nervous and I don’t’ think I would have handled the pressure until the last hole. I think she handled the pressure well today and this week. Just the last day, I just think it’s going to happen. I think something like this happening is just experience under her belt. She’s going to be a great player later on.”

The fourth-ranked Park finished with 67 for a 12-under 276 total, with Jutanugarn a shot back after 72.

Top-ranked Yani Tseng of Taiwan shot 63 to finish another stroke back in joint third with Beatriz Recari of Spain (70) and So Yeon Ryu of South Korea (68).

Jutanugarn’s troubles on the par-5 last hole started when she landed in a bunker and had to take a drop for an unplayable lie.

She then overshot the green before three-putting for an 8.

“I was really disappointed because I went onto the course hoping to win not for myself but for the whole country,” Jutanugarn said. “A lot of people came to support me and wanted to see me win. But I didn’t make it. However, I was so happy that they still supported me even I didn’t live up to their expectations.”

WEB.COM TOUR: In Panama City, Kevin Foley won the season-opening Panama Claro Championship for his first tour title, holing a 15-foot birdie putt on the final hole for a one-stroke victory over Mathew Goggin.

The 25-year-old former Penn State player closed with 3-under 67 in 93-degree heat to finish at 8-under 272 at Panama Golf Club. He earned $108,000.

Goggin had a bogey, double bogey and triple bogey in his final-round 70. The 2010 champion had a chance to force a playoff with a birdie at the 465-yard 18th, but settled for par after his second shot went into a greenside bunker.

North Augusta native Scott Brown shot a 66 to finish third at 6 under.


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