The Republic of Korea’s Inbee Park, New Zealand’s Lydia Ko and China’s Shanshan Feng are Olympic medalists.
Saturday at the women’s competition in Rio de Janeiro, Park added gold medalist to her list of accomplishments by extending her 54-hole lead to as many as six-strokes over the course of the final round, winning at 16-under par to secure her place atop the podium. Ko finished at 11-under par for the silver medal, with Feng taking home the bronze medal at 10-under par.
"Well it definitely feels unreal. This is something I've been really dreaming of doing this week and get to get to represent your country in the Olympic games and be able to get a gold medal is such a special feeling," Park told Golf Channel after her round. "I putted well all four rounds. I've gone through some tough times, but this is definitely a big relief."
Park’s performance this week in Rio was made that much more impressive by her battle with multiple injuries this season, including a back injury which forced her to withdraw from the first event of the season followed by her recent struggles with an ongoing left thumb injury which forced her to miss the last month on the LPGA Tour. Her last start on Tour came at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in June where she missed the cut but became the newest member to qualify for the LPGA Tour Hall of Fame by completing her 10-year requirement on Tour. She secured her final point for qualification at the end of 2015 in capturing the season’s Vare Trophy for the lowest scoring average. During the past month, Park focused on rehab and practice, testing the waters two-weeks ago on the KLPGA Tour where she opened with rounds of 74 to miss the cut. This week, a much different Park arrived in Rio, showing few sighs of rust as she opened with three sub-par rounds to hold both the 36 and 54-hole lead. Park posted a final round 66 to win by five-strokes ahead of Ko.
In taking home the silver medal, world No.1 Ko became the youngest medal winner from New Zealand. Grouped with Park and Gerina Piller in the final round, Ko got off to a slow start by going out in Even par on her front nine, but made birdie on three of her last five holes including the 72nd hole to move out of a tie with Feng to secure the silver medal. Ko carded a final round two-under par, 69 to finish five-back of Park.
Feng had an opportunity to lock up the silver medal with a 11-foot putt for birdie at the par 5, 18th hole to move to 11-under par, but left it short to finish at 10-under par for the week. Feng posted a two-under par, 69 to move into the third position on the podium.
U.S.A’s Stacy Lewis left her own birdie putt short on the 18th hole on Saturday where she had the opportunity to move to 10-under par. She finished in a share of fourth for the week at nine-under par. Her fellow American Gerina Piller played in the final group and was visibly disappointed after the round, crying after finishing with a three-over par, 74 to finish 11th for the week. Lexi Thompson bounced back on Saturday with a final round 66 to finish at three-under par at T-19.