By Thomas Dodd
- South Korean Inbee Park wins Women’s Golf Olympic Gold by five shots on 16 under
- World number one Lydia Ko of New Zealand runner-up, Shanshan Feng of China third
- Britain’s Charlie Hull finishes strong but misses out on medal in seventh
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – South Korea’s Inbee Park clinched Gold in the Women’s Golf event after a final round 66 in Rio, as Britain’s Charlie Hull finished in a tie for seventh.
The former world number one Park finished the 72-hole strokeplay competition on 16 under par to win by five shots from the current best player in the world Lydia Ko of New Zealand.
China’s Shanshan Feng took home the bronze on ten under par, one clear of a trio of golfers including American Stacey Lewis.
20-year-old Hull shot a final round 68 to end on minus eight and will look back at a third round 74 as costly in her attempts to get a medal and a place on the podium.
Entering the final day with a two stroke advantage, Park used the front nine to close the door on the field at the specially designed layout in Rio, allowing for a relatively drama-free walk back to the clubhouse.
A simple par five on the long eighteenth was enough to secure the seven-time major winner the first gold in Women’s Olympic Golf since 1900.
The race for silver was more closely contested, and after a tight final day. a birdie on the last was enough for Ko to separate herself from the chasing pack and finish runner-up.
Following on from the dramatic showdown between Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson in the men’s event last weekend, Park’s serene path to victory was fitting of a fantastic four days of Golf put on by players from the Ladies European and LPGA Tours.
After Rose shot the first ever hole in one in Olympic history, the ladies had three Aces over the course of the four days as Ko, China’s Lin Xiyu and Russia’s Maria Verchenova all holed out from the tee box during the week.
Verchenova’s final round 62 was the low round of the tournament, also eclipsing the best score from the men’s event albeit over a shortened layout.
Britain’s other representative Catriona Matthew finished in 29th place on even par while Irish duo Leona Maguire and Stephanie Meadow were minus two and plus two respectively.
India’s Aditi Ashok, who belied her country’s relatively sketchy golfing pedigree earlier in the week by opening with two rounds of 68, finished in 41st after a final round 76.
Whether golf in India grows directly as a result remains to be seen but the four days in Rio would have done the general perception of the women’s game worldwide no harm at all as the players head back to life on Tour and a regular schedule from next weekend.
Rio may have crowned six medallists over the course of these Olympics, but the general consensus is, after much initial doubt, it is the game of Golf that will leave Brazil the real winner.
Women’s Olympic Golf Final Leaderboard (Rio)
-16 Inbee Park (South Korea)
-11 Lydia Ko (New Zealand)
-10 Shanshan Feng (China)
-9 Harukyo Nomura (Japan), Hee Young Yang (South Korea), Stacey Lewis (USA)
-8 Brooke Henderson (Canada), Minjee Lee (Australia), Charlie Hull (Great Britain)
-7 Suzann Pettersen (Norway)
-2 Leona Maguire (Ireland)
E Catriona Matthew (Great Britain)
+2 Stephanie Meadow (Ireland)
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