South Korea’s Hee Young Park won the LPGA Tour’s season-ending Titleholders for her first tour victory, closing with a 2-under 70 on Sunday to hold off Paula Creamer and San Gal by two strokes.
Park, tied for the third-round lead with Gal, finished at 9-under 279 and earned $500,000. The season-ending event was played at Grand Cypress Resort, the 1,500-acre property that includes 45 holes of golf courses designed by Jack Nicklaus and one of Golfweek’s Top 50 Golf Resorts in 2010.
"It was difficult on the greens with tough pin positions today," Park said. "I felt the pressure. I tried hard. I always felt I could win, so today I know that dream came true."
The 24-year-old Park also has six victories on the Korean LPGA.
"This week, I think, maybe changed my future," she said.
After bogeying the fourth hole, Park birdied three of the next four and parred the final 10 holes.
"She had great composure all day long," Gal said about Park. "She’s always smiling. I’ve played with her many times and she’s such a great competitor to play with because she’s always happy and just plays her own game. I think she really, really deserves it."
Creamer also finished with a 70, and Gal shot a 72.
Creamer was winless this season.
"It’s been a year of definitely just almost there but not quite good enough for a lot of things," Creamer said. "But I look at it, and these last couple tournaments I definitely played a lot better.
"My attitude on the golf course this year was 100 times better than I believe it’s ever been. Confidence-wise I think that I’m a little bit back, and when you struggle your confidence tends to go away, and these last couple events I’ve definitely gotten that back."
Gal missed a chance for her second victory of the year.
"I had just kind of a slow start," Gal said. "I was kind of struggling the first nine, and I got kind of a little pissed off at myself to be honest with you, so I made a couple of good birdies, and I thought I had a good chance with the final three holes to make some more birdies, but that bogey cost me on the par 5.
"I won this year, and it’s always great to be in the final group, and I think I hung in there really well today," said Gal. "Sometimes you’re the winner, sometimes you’re not. That’s just how it goes."
Top-ranked Yani Tseng shot a 74 to tie for sixth at 2 under.
She won seven times on the LPGA Tour this year and had four other worldwide titles. The Taiwanese star was the Rolex Player of the Year for the second straight year, won her first Vare Trophy for lowest scoring average at 69.66, and topped the money list with $2,921,713.
"I really, really wanted to win this tournament and just didn’t go the way I wanted," Tseng said. "Kind of disappointed. But it’s the last day of the last tournament of the year, so I’m happy and just nice to have something that I know I can work on in the offseason and just that’s it."
*Reported by the Associated Press