PHOENIX (AP) — Inbee Park spoiled Laura Davies’ bid to become the oldest winner in LPGA Tour history, pulling away from the 54-year-old Englishwoman on Sunday in the Founders Cup
Park closed with a 5-under 67 in cool and breezy conditions at Desert Ridge for her 19th LPGA Tour victory and first in a little over a year. The 29-year-old South Korean star finished at 19-under 269, a day after revealing she was 50-50 about retiring before returning from a long break.
Davies, three strokes behind Park entering the round after the World Golf Hall of Famers shot matching 63s on Saturday, bogeyed the last for a 69 to finish five strokes back in a tie for second with Ariya Jutanugarn and Marina Alex.
Davies missed a chance to shatter the LPGA Tour’s age record set by Beth Daniel in the 2003 Canadian Women’s Open at 46 years, 8 months, 29 days. Davies also could have moved within one point of the LPGA Hall of Fame with a victory in the event honoring the 13 women who founded the LPGA Tour in 1950. She won the last of her 20 LPGA Tour titles in 2001.
Park pulled away on the back nine with four consecutive birdies. She started the run with a 15-footer from the fringe on the par-4 12th, made a curling 10-foot try on the par-4 13th, a 20-footer on the par-3 14th and got up-and-down from the left greenside bunker on the par-5 15th.
Park won in her second start after the long break following the Women’s British Open in August. She returned two weeks ago in Singapore for her title defense.
Davies rebounded from an opening bogey with a chip-in eagle on the par-5 second. She made 8-foot birdie putts on Nos. 9 and 10 to get within a stroke of Park before the Olympic champion made her run.
Fighting Achilles tendon and calf problems in her left leg, Davies also birdied the par-5 15th. She was trying to win for the fifth time in Phoenix after taking the Moon Valley event from 1994-97.
Jutanugarn had a 70 to tie for second for the second straight year.
Alex closed with a 68 for the best finish of her career. She chipped in for eagle on 15, but bogeyed the 18th to fall into the tie for second.
In Gee Chun had a 66 — the best round of the day — to join Megan Khan (68) at 13 under.
Michelle Wie and Jessica Korda struggled on the weekend, each closing with a 72. Korda tied for 26th at 8 under, a stroke ahead of Wie. Korda won three weeks ago in Thailand in her return from jaw surgery, and Wie was coming off a victory in the Singapore event.