Inbee Park set many golfing goals. Etching her name alongside Babe Zaharias was never one of them.
Yet now they’re the only two players to win the first three majors of the year. Park became the first to accomplish the feat in the modern era Sunday in Southampton, N.Y., with her second U.S. Women’s Open title.
“Trying to put my name next to hers means just so much,” Park said. “I would think I would never get there; it’s somewhere that I’ve never dreamed of. But all of a sudden, I’m there.”
The world’s top-ranked player finished at 8 under to win by four strokes. Her 2-over 74 in the final round was more than enough, with Sebonack’s trying conditions keeping any rivals from making a run. Only three players were under par for the tournament.
Fellow South Korean I.K. Kim also shot 74 for her second runner-up finish at a major.
Zaharias won the year’s first three majors in 1950 – back when there were only three. Now there are five, so Grand Slam might not quite be the right term if Park wins all of them.
Ahead by four strokes at the start of the round, Park birdied the ninth and 10th holes to extend her lead. She has won six times already this year, including three straight tournaments. Park added to another historic U.S. Women’s Open victory in 2008, when she became the event’s youngest champion at age 19.
“I didn’t know what was going on at that time,” Park said. “I played very good golf then, but I didn’t know what I was playing for, and that was just my first win. It was a great championship then, but now I think I really appreciate more and I really know what this means.”
So Yeon Ryu shot 72 to finish third at 1 under. South Korean players took the top three spots and have won the last five majors.
Bill Haas won the AT&T National in Bethesda, Md., and joined some distinguished company.
Haas pulled away from a crowd of contenders with three straight birdies, two key pars and one good hop out of the rough. It led to a 5-under 66 on a muggy day at Congressional and a three-shot win over Roberto Castro.
As many as six players had a share of the lead at some point until Haas rolled in a 10-foot birdie putt on No. 8.
Haas led by at least two shots the entire back nine, though he never allowed himself to think about winning until he stood over a 3-foot par putt on the 18th hole and realized he had three putts to win.
Haas, who earned his fifth career victory, has won at least one PGA Tour event in each of the last four years, joining Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose.
Kenny Perry won the Senior Players Championship in Pittsburgh for his first major title, overtaking Fred Couples with a final round 6-under 64.
Perry finished at 19-under 261 at Fox Chapel, two shots ahead of Couples and Duffy Waldorf. The 52-year-old Perry opened with a 71 and shot consecutive 63s in the next two rounds.
Couples closed with a 68, and Waldorf shot 64.
England’s Paul Casey made a 50-foot eagle putt on the 18th hole to win the Irish Open in Maynooth, Ireland, by three strokes for his 12th European Tour title.
Casey closed with a 5-under 67 to finish at 14-under 274 at Carton House. England’s Robert Rock (71) and Dutchman Joost Luiten (74) tied for second.
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