2012 LPGA Official Money title winner and Vare Trophy winner Inbee Park got her 2013 season off to a hot start, capturing a one-shot victory at the Honda LPGA Thailand in her first event of the year. The victory came as a bit of a shock to Park as she trailed 17-year-old Thailand native Ariya Jutanugarn by two shots when she finished her round. But Park ended up with a one-stroke victory less than 15 minutes later when Jutanugarn lipped out a 3-foot-putt for double bogey on the par-5 18th hole.
Things fell apart quickly for Jutanugarn on 18. After hitting her second shot into the front right bunker, Jutanugarn had to take a drop and a one-stroke penalty for an unplayable lie. She then hit her fourth shot over the green and with a tricky downhill shot facing her, she left it short with the ball still on the fringe. Her putt — her sixth shot of the hole — slid by and she had about a 3-foot uphill putt left to make for double-bogey in order to force a playoff. But the putt rimmed the hole and Jutanugarn tapped in for an eight which gave Park the one-shot victory.
“On No. 17 when I missed that birdie putt I thought that this game might be over because she was at 14 [under-par] and it was a two-stroke lead coming into the last hole,” Park said. “I knew she was a long hitter so she had a chance to go ahead. So yeah I just didn’t expect this kind of finish. Out of all the other wins, this win just felt like it was not as much work this week. It was a lot easier this week for me.
“But 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.”
Park trailed Jutanugarn by four shots entering Sunday’s final round but charged back with a final round 5-under 67 to take home her fourth career victory.