EDINA, Minn. Two weeks away from her 20th birthday, Inbee Park became the youngest winner of the U.S. Women's Open on Sunday by closing with a 2-under 71 as everyone around her faded away at Interlachen.
Park didn't make a bogey in the final 10 holes, pulling away with three clutch putts and taking a four-shot lead to the final hole. She finished with a tap-in birdie, and some fellow South Korean players doused her with beer.
The victory came 10 years after Park took up the game, inspired by watching Se Ri Pak win the Women's Open at Blackwolf Run to become the youngest champion at age 20.
Park finished at 9-under 283 and earned $585,000 from the richest purse in women's golf. Her four-shot victory over Helen Alfredsson, who shot 75, was the largest in the Women's Open since Karrie Webb won by eight shots at Pine Needles in 2001.
No one imagined the only drama on the back nine would come from Annika Sorenstam, who was never in contention competing in her final Women's Open before retirement at the end of the season. Her final shot was a 6-iron from 199 yards that tumbled into the cup for eagle and a 78 that left her 12 shots behind in a tie for 24th.
Stacy Lewis, trying to become the first player to win a major in her professional debut, took double bogey from 80 yards away on the par-5 second hole and struggled all afternoon with her lag putting. She staggered home to a 79 and tied for third at 4-under 288 with Angela Park (73) and In-Kyung Kim (75).
An even greater collapse came from Paula Creamer, 21, who said her experience from six LPGA Tour victories would be a big advantage. She then shot 41 on the front nine, including two double bogeys, and wound up with a 78 to tie for sixth.
BUICK OPEN: At Grand Blanc, Mich., Kenny Perry won the Buick Open, closing with a 6-under 66 to hold off Woody Austin and Bubba Watson at Warwick Hills. Perry finished at 19-under 269, one shot better than Austin, who bogeyed the last two holes, and Watson, who missed a 12-footer on the final green. Perry, who also won in 2001 at Warwick Hills, has 11 victories on the PGA Tour, including the Memorial earlier this month. Vijay Singh has three victories at Warwick Hills, while Tiger Woods, Julius Boros, Tony Lema and now Perry have won twice.
Austin and Watson shot 68s. Bob Tway (65), Ken Duke (67) and Matt Jones (67) finished another stroke behind at 17 under.
CHAMPIONS TOUR: At East Meadow, N.Y., Loren Roberts won for the first time this year, shooting a 3-under 68 to cap a wire-to-wire, one-stroke victory over Nick Price and Lonnie Nielsen in the Commerce Bank Championship. Roberts had three second-place finishes on the Champions Tour this year, including last week to Jeff Sluman, but his 12-under 201 total gave him his eighth title on the over-50 circuit, matching his total from his PGA Tour career. Price matched the tournament's low round with a 65. Nielsen, the winner last year over Roberts, finished with a 66 on the Red Course at Eisenhower Park.
NATIONWIDE TOUR: At Clarksburg, Ontario, Justin Hicks, the co-leader after the first round of the U.S. Open, won the Wayne Gretzky Classic on Sunday for his first Nationwide Tour title, beating Casey Wittenberg with a two-putt par on the first hole of a playoff. "I don't know if I can put this into words," the 33-year-old Hicks said. "I grew up playing hockey ... before I quit to take up golf. To be able to win the tournament hosted by the greatest player to ever skate on ice is such an honor and something I'll never forget." The Michigan native closed with a 2-under 69 on the Georgian Bay Club course to match Wittenberg (70) at 16-under 269. Hicks earned $144,017 to jump from 160th to 13th the money list with $152,481.