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Park shoots 10-under to win LPGA's Manulife Financial Classic

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The Canadian Press
6/8/2014 5:32:33 PM
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WATERLOO, Ont. -- Despite periods of steady rain, Inbee Park was on fire.

The South Korean burned up Grey Silo Golf Course on Sunday, tying a course record of 10-under 61 to win the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic by three strokes at 23-under par.

Five birdies on the front nine and five on the back sealed the 10th career win and first this season for Park, who was two strokes off leader Shanshan Feng of China heading into the final round. Feng faltered on the day and was only able to shoot 3 under par 68 to finish at 18 under, slipping into third place.

Miami's Christie Kerr blew by Feng with a bogey-free round of 8 under 63 to finish at 20-under par.

Park will take home the $225,000 of the $1.5-million moving her up to fourth on the money list this season at $744,510. Kerr earned $136,903 and Feng $99,314.

Had it not been for Park's scorching putter, Kerr might have caught her.

"It seems like today I just put the putter head on my ball and it just wants to go in the hole. It was just one of those days where I really didn't need to try hard to make it go in. I just needed to really trust my break and just play my own golf," Park said, explaining her barrage of birdies.

Park admitted she peeked at the leaderboard from time to time, as she didn't really pull away from the pack until she birdied the 14th hole to go to 22-under par and stretch her lead to four strokes.

"I didn't really watch the board all the time. I watched a couple times and I knew everybody was having a good score. I didn't know where Christie was because she wasn't playing with me, but I always knew where Shanshan was."

Feng said she was in awe of Park's putting, not believing that she could sink so many birdies. At one point, Park was in position for a coveted and extremely rare 59.

"I was joking with her, because she made all the putts almost a I said, 'Do you have GPS in your ball'," Feng said with a laugh.

"She said this was her first time to putt this well this year. I said 'well, I bring you good luck,' so she owes me dinner now. She's going to spend a lot of money."

Though she had a hard time keeping pace with Park, Feng wouldn't let up and concede the tournament.

"I didn't give up any time during the round," she said. "Three-under wasn't a great score, but I think I did well the whole week."

Kerr basically had to tip her hat to Park for her day on the course.

"I never looked at the scoreboard until I came off 17 just, with a reachable par 5, to see where I was and I was stunned because I was 7 under for the day (at that point). You'd think you'd be close," Kerr said, adding that she did everything she possible could for the last two days, shooting a combined 14-under par.

"I guess that second round at 2 under kind of hurt me. But I mean, with this kind of golf course, you have to have four really stellar days and I had three really stellar days. You know, there's only one winner so I have to be pleased with my performance."

If Kerr and Feng has anyone to blame for Park's performance this week it's Stacy Lewis, who knocked Park out of first in the Rolex rankings last week after 59 weeks as No. 1.

"I think, definitely, I really kickstarted maybe the last week," Park said.

"I just needed some kind of breakthrough or some kind of motivation to go lower. I played great golf, but just not enough. I feel like I'm playing better golf and I've got a lot of confidence from this week."

Also gaining confidence is Sue Kim of Langley, B.C., who was the top Canadian at the tournament, finishing in a tie for 35th at 8 under par after shooting 3 under on the day. Kim said she almost skipped the tournament to have a week of rest after missing the cut the last two weeks in New Jersey and Alabama.

"I hit it great out there," Kim said.

"I hit the greens in regulation, every day, was improving. I hit 17 greens today and just gave myself a lot of birdie chances."

Being the low Canadian on the weekend was special to her.

"In Canada, as a Canadian, I always want to represent as well as I can," she said.

Behind Kim was Brooke Henderson (68) of Smith Falls, Ont., and Hamilton's Alena Sharp (71) at 6 under, Jennifer Kirby (70) of Paris, Ont., at 4 under, and Brantford's Nicole Vandermade (72) at 2.

Inbee Park  (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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