CATRIONA Matthew led the way early in the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic last night, but was overhauled by American Angela Stanford and South Korea’s Hee Young Park in the closing stages as they headed into a play-off.
The North Berwick golfer shot a closing 66 to finish 23-under for the tournament and five-under for the day through 17 holes, but Stanford – playing behind her – led by two going up the last with South Korea’s Hee Young Park lurking on 24 under and in second spot.
The American and Korean both managed birdies at the 18th hole to sit tied at 26-under-par 258 after 72 holes of play.
Stanford closed with a seven-under 64 while Park, who led after the third round, shot a 65.
Hamilton’s Alena Sharp was the top Canadian at 11 under.
Twenty four hours earlier, Park had shot a career-best 61 to move into the lead after the third round. Park nearly chipped in on the 18th hole for an eagle before tapping in a short putt for her sixth birdie on the back nine. “I finished really well, finished (with) the birdie, so it’s going to be fun tomorrow,” she said ahead of last night’s final round.
Matthew (68) started the third round with a three-shot lead on Stanford (64) but fell back with a double-bogey on the par-3 12th. She followed with a birdie and got another stroke back with a birdie on No. 18. “Yeah, didn’t maybe click quite as well today, didn’t hit it quite as close,” Matthew said. “Had a lot of chances but just kind of left a few, and then a silly double on 12, kind of getting a bit greedy going for the hole and just pulled it.
“Nice to come back with a couple of birdies.”
Park has won her last three tournaments and was trying to become the first golfer to win four straight US LPGA Tour events since Lorena Ochoa in 2008. Nancy Lopez holds the tour record with five consecutive victories in 1978, a mark matched by Annika Sorenstam over the 2004-05 seasons.