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Inbee Park wins LPGA Championship in playoff

PITTSFORD, N.Y. — Inbee Park birdied the third hole of a sudden-death playoff with Catriona Matthew to win the rain-delayed LPGA Championship on Sunday.

Park made a 20-foot putt on the par-4 18th to sweep the first two majors of the season. She rebounded in the playoff after blowing a three-shot lead with a closing 3-over 75. The top-ranked South Korean star bogeyed three of the final five holes in regulation and hit only six fairways in the round.

"It feels great. It was a tough day out there," Park said. "The amount of fairways I was missing, it's almost a miracle that I won. I think I got a little lucky there, too. And I really tried to fight off and tried not to give up. That really paid off."

Matthew, 42, shot a bogey-free 68 to match Park at 5-under 283 at Locust Hill.

It was a dramatic finish to a marathon day in which organizers were forced to squeeze in the final two rounds after torrential rain postponed the first round Thursday.

A 36-hole day ended up going 39. The tournament wasn't decided until nearly 8 p.m., some 12 hours after Matthew teed off to open her third round.

"I felt like I ran a marathon today," Park said. "I'm just happy we got it done. A major championship should have this kind of challenge, not the 36 holes every time, but this course."

After both made par on the first two playoff holes, Matthew struggled off the 18th tee on the third. After having difficulty advancing the ball out of the rough just below the green on her third shot, Matthew missed a 50-foot par chip.

"I don't think fatigue was a factor during the playoff," Matthew said. "I think just the adrenaline of being in the playoff kept you going. I certainly didn't feel tired during the playoff."

Suzann Pettersen and Morgan Pressel tied for third, a shot behind. Pettersen had the low round for the tournament, closing with 65. Pressel collapsed after she opened the day with a two-stroke lead through two rounds at 6-under 138.

Tampa's Kristy McPherson finished at even-par 288 and Seminole's Brittany Lincicome at 1-over 289.

PGA: Harris English won the St. Jude Classic in Memphis, Tenn., for his first tour title, birdieing two of the final three holes to hold off Phil Mickelson and Scott Stallings by two strokes. English survived a final round where he had six birdies and five bogeys to shoot 1-under 69. He finished at 12-under 268.

"I had probably 10 high school friends out there," said English, 23, in his second year on the tour. "And I know that if I make a birdie or a bogey, they're probably going to be the same and they're rooting me on. I was just really relaxed out there (Sunday). Bogeyed eight and nine, which was tough. But I knew if I kept it together on the back nine, I could make a run at the thing."

English, who helped his Chattanooga high school win four state golf titles, made a 5-foot birdie putt on No. 16 to tie Stallings for the lead, then Stallings bogeyed No. 18.

Champions: After a late delay because of lightning, David Frost parred the final two holes to hold on for a one-stroke victory over Hall of Famer Fred Couples in the Regions Tradition in Birmingham, Ala., the South African's first major title in 17 attempts. Couples and Frost shot 4-under 68, and Frost finished at 16-under 272.

"We came in from the break and I said to myself, 'It's not going to be easy,' " Frost said. "Freddy's got nothing to lose. He's going to go out there and hit the shots and fire at the pins. I've just got to kind of accept it and be up to the challenge."

Inbee Park wins LPGA Championship in playoff 06/09/13 [Last modified: Sunday, June 9, 2013 11:03pm]

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