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Park edges Jutanugarn for LPGA Thailand win

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CHONBURI, Thailand (AP) - Inbee Park of South Korea took advantage of overnight leader Ariya Jutanugarn's triple bogey on the last hole Sunday to secure a one-stroke victory in the LPGA Thailand.

Jutanugarn blew a two-stroke lead on the 18th when she first had to take a drop and then missed a three-foot putt to force a playoff. The 17-year-old Thai golfer, who had a hole-in-one earlier in the round, was moved to tears as the putt lipped out, while a surprised Park started celebrating in the clubhouse with her caddie.

``I just didn't' expect this kind of finish,'' said Park, adding that she sympathized with Jutanagarn. ``If I was in Ariya's situation, I would be very, very nervous and I don't' think I would have handled the pressure until the last hole. I think she handled the pressure well today and this week. Just the last day, I just think it's going to happen. I think something like this happening is just experience under her belt. She's going to be a great player later on.''

The fourth-ranked Park finished with a 67 for a 12-under 276 total, with Jutanugarn a shot back after a 72.

Top-ranked Yani Tseng of Taiwan shot a final-round 63 to finish another stroke back in joint third with Beatriz Recari of Spain (70) and So Yeon Ryu of South Korea (68).

Jutanugarn's troubles on the par-5 last hole started when she landed in a bunker and had had to take a drop for an unplayable lie. She then overshot the green before three-putting for an 8.

``I was really disappointed because I went onto the course hoping to win not for myself but for the whole country,'' Jutanugarn said. ``A lot of people came to support me and wanted to see me win. But I didn't make it. However, I was so happy that they still supported me even I didn't live up to their expectations.''

Jutanugarn had fought back from a stroke behind Park by hitting a hole-in-one on the par-3 12th to regain the lead at 14 under - and win a car from a sponsor. But she then paid the price for playing too aggressively on the last.

``I went for two shots (to the green) instead of three on the 18th hole. I was crazy to do that and I learned my lesson,'' she said. ``I thought I would finish with a bogey at worst and win by a shot but I never imagined this.''

It was the fourth LPGA win for the 24-year-old Park after her most recent in the 2012 Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia last October.

``Out of all the other wins, this win just felt like it was not as much work this week,'' Park said. ``It was a lot easier this week for me and I really want to congratulate Ariya for her fantastic golf the last four days. She has a lot of fans out here and she's very talented. So I think I'll be seeing more of her.''

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2015
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

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