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Red-hot Park surges to Evian victory
Elspeth Burnside
07:56 AEST Mon Jul 30 2012

EVIAN-LES-BAINS, France, July 29 AFP - South Korea's Park Inbee had a magical day with the putter to hold off a bunch of players and win the Evian Masters with a fantastic closing 66 on Sunday.

The 24-year-old started the day tied with American Stacy Lewis, but had 11 single putts and eight birdies to post a 17 under par total and won by two shots from Lewis and Karrie Webb, the veteran Australian who won back in 2006.

Lewis, the leader from round one, eagled the last from 30 feet for a 68, while Webb birdied the final two holes for a 67.

China's Feng Shanshan, who holed a bunker shot for an eagle at the last and a 66, South Korean amateur Kim Hyo Joo (68), and the 2007 champion Natalie Gulbis (68) of the United States shared fourth place on 14 under par.

"This is so exciting," said Park, who dropped shots at the third and 11th but birdied four holes in each half. "Today I was red hot with the putter."

Park's win was just her second as a professional, but she has proved she has the nerve for the big occasion.

Her first win was as a 19-year-old in the US Women's Open - and the 350,000 ($A416,100) first prize at Evian is the most lucrative in women's golf.

"It's been tough to wait so long for another win but I think this will be really big for me."

By contrast her playing partner Lewis, the runner-up last year, could not buy a putt in the first 14 holes and had another hiccup when she cracked the face of her driver hitting from the 12th tee.

But she battled bravely with birdies at the 15th and 16th and then holed the monster for eagle at the 18th.

South Korea's 17-year-old amateur Joo completed an amazing week with her 68 - her fourth sub-70 score - for 14 under par.

Karine Icher, who has had three top tens on the LPGA Tour in America this season, was on her first trip back home to France since the birth of her first child, Lola. And she produced a great final round of 69 to tie for 12th place on nine under par.

Lola is 11 months old, and the 33-year-old said: "My life has changed forever since she arrived. To have a baby, it's completely different. Now my priority is not my golf but my daughter. But I'm more relaxed and it's fun to travel with her."


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