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Inbee Park retains LPGA title in playoff

Published On: Aug 18 2014 06:50:21 AM CDT
Updated On: Aug 18 2014 09:36:47 AM CDT
Golf ball on edge of hole

iStockPhoto / sculpies

(CNN) -

She'd spent all year hoping to win her first British Open, but Inbee Park has bounced back from last month's crushing disappointment.

The South Korean golfer claimed her fifth major title on Sunday, retaining her LPGA Championship crown after once again going to a playoff.

She needed three extra holes to win at Locust Hill last year, but this time one was enough as the 26-year-old ended American Brittany Lincicome's hopes of a second major success.

"It was a very tough tournament to forget, since I was so close and I thought I was definitely able to do it," Park said of the British Open, where she led going into the final round but faded to 10th after a 77.

"That's been the tournament that I've really waited for all year long, and that's been my only goal this year. And not being able to do it in the final round was very disappointing.

"It gives me a little bit of break from the British Open and I can kind of forget about it a little bit and kind of move on now."

This time Park came from behind, having been tied for second a shot adrift of 61st-ranked Lincicome going into the fourth round.

She birdied the 17th and sank a 15-foot par putt at the last, while Lincicome three-putted 18 to ensure a playoff -- and then bogeyed as they played it again.

It was world No. 3 Park's second playoff in as many weeks, having lost to tour rookie compatriot Mirim Lee at the Meijer LPGA Classic in Michigan.

She claimed her second tournament win this year -- which has inevitably paled into comparison with last year's feats, when she won the season's opening three majors plus three other LPGA events.

"This year was always going to be a tough year after having such a great year last year," Park told reporters.

"You know, I feel like so far this season I've really handled myself well in this position, and it feels like I've played some good golf. And I played very consistently this year. I just sometimes didn't get that lucky as last year. Sometimes I just didn't putt as well."

For the 28-year-old Lincicome, it was her best finish at a major since winning the 2009 Kraft Nabisco Championship -- and she wept tears of joy at the finish, despite her playoff disappointment.

"I really feel like this will be the stepping stone that I kind of needed to push me to keep it going and to be in the top 10 each week like I was three years ago," she said.

Teenager Lydia Ko, ranked second in the world, finished third on eight under overall, three shots back from the leading duo.

The 17-year-old New Zealander bogeyed the last two holes, but sealed her best finish at a major.

Spain's Azahara Muñoz tied for fourth with Swede Anna Nordqvist, while world No. 1 Stacy Lewis was equal sixth in a group including Lee and Norway's 2007 winner Suzann Pettersen -- who had been tied for second with Park before closing with 76.

Meanwhile, on the men's PGA Tour, Colombia's Camilo Villegas clinched his place in the FedEx Cup playoffs with victory at the Wyndham Championship on Sunday.

The 32-year-old earned his first title since 2010 as his final-round seven-under 63 left him one shot clear of American Bill Haas (64) and Swede Freddie Jacobson (66).

The former world No. 12 had tumbled to 254th in the rankings ahead of the tournament, but goes into the playoffs 37th in the U.S. tour's standings after leaping 68 places on the money list with the $954,000 first prize.