Inbee Park makes history by winning US Women's Open for 3rd straight major title

  • Article by: RACHEL COHEN , AP Sports Writer
  • Updated: July 1, 2013 - 2:20 AM

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. — Inbee Park understood the meaning of winning the U.S. Women's Open much better the second time around.

She appreciated, too, the magnitude of this particular accomplishment.

On Sunday, Park became the first player in the modern era to win the first three majors of the year.

Babe Zaharias did it in 1950 when there were only three to enter. Now there are five.

"I didn't expect myself being in this kind of position, breaking some kind of record that hasn't been broken for 50 years," Park said. "I never dreamed of myself doing that."

The world's top-ranked player finished at 8 under to win by four strokes. Her 2-over 74 in the final round was more than enough, with Sebonack's trying conditions keeping any rivals from making a run. Only three players were under par for the tournament.

Fellow South Korean I.K. Kim also shot 74 for her second runner-up finish at a major.

Ahead by four strokes at the start of the round, Park birdied the ninth and 10th holes to extend her lead. She has won six times already this year, including three straight tournaments. Park added to another historic U.S. Women's Open victory in 2008, when she became the event's youngest champion at age 19.

"I didn't know what was going on at that time," Park said. "I played very good golf then, but I didn't know what I was playing for, and that was just my first win. It was a great championship then, but now I think I really appreciate more and I really know what this means."

So Yeon Ryu shot 72 to finish third at 1 under. South Korean players took the top three spots and have won the last five majors.

Ryu and Na Yeon Choi, the last two U.S. Women's Open champs, sprayed Park with champagne after she made her final putt on the 18th green.

With lashing wind and devilish greens, Sebonack was a classically troublesome U.S. Women's Open course. And once Park built a lead, nobody could mount a charge.

She certainly wasn't going to make enough mistakes to come back to the field. Park had just 10 bogeys and no double bogeys in four rounds.

She predicted Saturday that shooting even par in the final round would be enough, and she sure was right.

All of four players were under par Sunday — though that was still more than the third round, when only Park achieved it.

Kim birdied No. 2 to pull within three strokes; she couldn't claw closer. And when she bogeyed the fourth hole, the deficit was back to four shots.

Park bogeyed the sixth and seventh, but so did Kim.

Kim had what would have qualified as a sensational week if not for Park, finishing at least three strokes better than everyone but the player currently dominating the sport.

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