Golf: South Korea's Park wins gold medal

Sat Aug 20, 2016 2:49pm EDT
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By Liana B. Baker

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - 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.

Twenty-eight-year-old Park, who is the Ladies Professional Golf Association's youngest hall of fame qualifier, 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 5-under 66 on Saturday, ending the tournament at sixteen 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 meal, 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 second-to-last 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.   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Golf - Final - Women's Individual Stroke Play - Olympic Golf Course - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 20/08/2016.   Inbee Park (KOR) of Korea watches her tee shot on the 15th hole during final round women's Olympic golf competition.     REUTERS/Andrew Boyers