South Korea's Park clinches gold in Rio after golf's Olympic return

South Korea's seven-time major champion Park In Bee clinched gold in the women's Olympic golf tournament Saturday, finishing five strokes ahead of world number one Lydia Ko of New Zealand.

Park's third, five-under 66 score from the four days in the Rio de Janeiro competition kept her top of the leaderboard on Saturday, with a total of 268 strokes for a 16-under finish on the par-71 course.

Ko was unable to replicate her strong 65 from the third round, shooting 69 on Saturday and winning silver with a total of 273 strokes.

China's Feng Shanshan took bronze with 274 strokes as women's golf made its return to the Olympics in Rio after a 116-year absence.

Ko was just two shots behind Park overnight, but the South Korean then birdied four of the opening eight holes Saturday to pull away, while Ko bogeyed the par-four second.

Park could afford to bogey the 10th and 14th before she got her final birdie on the 17th en route to her first season win. Ko, meanwhile, birdied the 18th to clinch silver one stroke ahead of Feng.

"I feel extremely honoured and proud that I get to win a gold medal in the Olympic Games. It feels truly unreal," said Park, whose major wins include three women's PGA Championship titles.

"I have won many tournaments but I have never felt this before," she added.

Ko was happy with her silver after a modest first two days and added her belief that the Olympic tournament will boost the sport.

"Before coming here we had some negative press, but I think we have all proved what an amazing week it was for golf, for the woman's game," she said.

Russian golfer Maria Verchenova shot a course record nine-under-par 62 in Saturday's final round, after landing a hole-in-one in the par-three fourth.

"It's amazing because the last one was when I was 21," the now 30-year-old told reporters. "I didn't see it go in ... People started clapping and I was like 'Oh my god, I got a hole-in-one.'"

But weaker performances in the previous rounds left Verchenova far away from the medal podium at four-under.

Last update: Sat, 20/08/2016 - 20:25
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