EVIAN-LES-BAINS, FRANCE | Inbee Park quite
simply putted the lights out to bring down the
final curtain on the Evian Masters. In a thriller
of an afternoon, the 24-year-old Korean had 11
single putts for the 66 which left her on 17-un-
der par and two clear of the wily Karrie Webb
and Stacy Lewis. And $487,500 the richer.
Next year, of course, the tournament becomes the Evian Championship and the LPGA’s
fifth major. It goes without saying that people
were asking Park if she wished this were 2013
but, that consideration apart, her day could not
have been trumped. This, after all, was her first
victory since the 2008 US Women’s Open.
“It feels unbelievable,” said the beaming
champion. “It’s been four years but it felt like
more than four years.”
An oft-repeated complaint about the women
is that they do not putt as well as the men. Yet
even the best of the men would have had to give
best to Park on Sunday. The player enhanced
Evian’s justly famous reputation as a place to re-
lax and unwind as she used her enviably steady
putting stroke to hole out from everywhere.
If you had to pick one above the rest it was that
at the short 14th where she missed the green. She
had to chip over a bunker with little hope of stopping the ball close. But 25 feet was close enough
as she rolled home the putt and simultaneously
doused the hopes of Lewis, her playing companion. Though Lewis, her co-leader after three
rounds, had been upsides with her for most of the
day, there seemed to be a limit to how many holed
Park putts the American could accommodate.
When it came to the par- 5 18th, Park needed
Evian Masters winner Inbee Park
two putts from 30 feet to win. Inevitably, she
sewed things up with one.
Lewis caught the 18th green in two and
holed for an eagle which was worth about
$100,000. Again, what of Shanshan Feng, who
went for the green in two and, after ending up
in the bunker over the back, holed out from
sand for her share of fourth place.
Such fireworks on the final hole may have the
powers-that-be at the tournament wondering
if they are making a mistake in turning the 18th
into a par 4.
Natalie Gulbis and Hyo Joo Kim were the players to finish alongside Feng, with Gulbis, like Feng,
making off with $151,632 – and Kim with nothing.
However, for this richly gifted 17-year-old
amateur, it should be no more than the equivalent
of asking her to wait a couple of weeks for her
pocket money. She turns professional in September and no-one doubts that she will be a runaway
success in the professional game where she has
already won twice – in Korea and Japan.
Twenty years from now, people will still be
talking about the year before the Evian became
winner of the last Evian Masters.
We look forward to 2013 in a MAJOR way when this great event becomes “The Evian Championship” or simply.... “The Evian.”