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28-year-old Park, who is the LPGA’S youngest hall of fame qualifier, capped off an exceptional performance after recovering from injuries that kept her off the course for two months this year. She shot a five-under par 66 on the final day, ending the tournament at sixteen under par.
“I feel extremely honoured and proud that I get to win a gold medal in the Olympic Games. It feels truly unreal. I have won many tournaments but I have never felt this before. I really enjoyed being out here. Even if I hadn’t won a gold medal this week, it would have been a fantastic week. There was nothing guaranteed because I hadn’t played well this season. I had to overcome a lot of obstacles,” the winner said, referring to her comeback from injury.
In a tight race for second, world number one Lydia Ko of New Zealand birdied the 18th hole to win the silver medal, edging out China's Feng Shanshan by one stroke. Ko got off to slower start but stormed back in the second-to-last round with a six-under par 65, the best round that day.
“At the end of the second day I wasn't in the greatest position but playing well in the last two days has led me to this point. I am so proud of myself and the team for getting this silver medal. It is a huge honour,” Ko said after the dramatic finish.
Feng was equally pleased with her bronze: “It’s unbelievable because I came in the last round in fourth and I knew I would have a chance but I didn’t want to give myself any pressure so I didn’t look at the leaderboard the whole time.”
Golf returned to the Olympics this year after a more than a 100-year absence. Park follows in the footsteps of American Margaret Abbott, who won the first and only women’s golf tournament at the Olympic Games, at the Paris 1900 Olympic Games, where USA also took silver and bronze.