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Park credits Tiger Woods for stunning Singapore win
[SINGAPORE] Enigmatic Korean Park Sung-hyun revealed she drew inspiration and "energy" from Tiger Woods as she pulled off a stunning come-from-behind victory at the HSBC Women's World Championship in Singapore.
"If Tiger is watching this interview, then I would want to say that because we met, you gave me such a good energy, that made me win this tournament," said the world number two Park.
The South Korean shot the lowest round of the week, an eight-under par final-round 64 on Sunday, to win by two strokes from Australia's world number three Minjee Lee in the US$1.5 million US LPGA showpiece event.
Park is so popular in her native South Korea that she has an army of fans following her every move in shirts emblazoned with the two-time major winner's nicknames.
They include "Namdalla" which means "I'm different", "Dak Gong" which translates as "shut up and attack", but the one Park is fondest of is "Tiger", a tribute to her golfing hero Woods.
The 25-year-old South Korean golf sensation - who spent periods at world number one in both 2017 and 2018 - finally got to meet 14-time major winner Woods in early February during a commercial shoot in the US and hopes she can keep in touch.
Park first burst onto the scene by breaking into the world's top 10 while still playing on the Korean LPGA Tour, where she won six times in 2016.
Park joined the US LPGA Tour in 2017 and had immediate success when she won that year's Women's US Open. A second major followed at the 2018 US PGA Championship.
Sunday's victory - Park's sixth on the LPGA Tour - came via her finest final round as she came from four strokes off the pace relegate Australia's world number three Minjee Lee to second place.
"I think today is one of the best days that I am playing so far on the LPGA Tour," Park said.
Park was languishing 39th in the 62-player field after Thursday's first round 69 but she remained typically unflappable to work back into contention.
For support, Park often turns to her ever-present mother Lee Keumja and she told reporters after her win that she had even had to put up with a bit of nagging from her as she shot 71 and 69 respectively on Friday and Saturday.
"In the second and third round, I didn't play that well on the back nine holes," said Park.
"My mum asked me after the third round, 'Are you tired?' I told her, like, 'I still have one more day. Just watch my game.'"
Spurred on she powered to five birdies on the front nine Sunday and four on the back, with the lone blemish a bogey six at the eighth.
In the heat of Singapore's Sentosa Golf Club, Park showed fierce powers of concentration, pulling down the brim of her cap and cloaking herself under an umbrella being used as a sun shade.
"I was holding it really low so I could just look at the ground, and that really made me focus more on my playing," admitted Park.
World number one Ariya Jutanugarn, who was leading at one stage but fell away with a final-round 75, is in no doubt about Park's talent.
"She's the best to me," said the Thai. "She's great."
Park's Northern Irish caddie David Jones, a former European Challenge Tour player, agrees.
"Every 10 or 15 years someone comes along who raises the bar," Mr Jones told AFP straight after Park's win. "She is that person."