RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — Any drama left Sunday at Mission Hills was gone a few minutes after the final group teed off.
Robbing the Kraft Nabisco Championship of another exciting finish, Inbee Park doubled her lead to six strokes over playing partner Lizette Salas on the par-4 opening hole and ran away with her second major title.
Park made a 20-foot birdie putt, showing off a putting touch unmatched in women’s golf, and Salas had a messy double bogey for a three-stroke swing.
“That made my day much easier, that’s for sure,” Park said.
The 2008 U.S. Women’s Open winner at Interlachen, Park closed with a 3-under 69 to finish at 15 under, four strokes ahead of fellow South Korean player So Yeon Ryu.
“It had been a while since I won a major. It feels very special,” said Park, the third straight South Korean major winner and the eighth in a row from Asia.
Park celebrated the victory with the traditional leap into Poppie’s Pond.
“It was great,” Park said. “That’s the pond I’ve always wanted to jump in and I finally jumped in. It was a little bit chilly, though.”
She also jumped from fourth to second in the world with her fifth LPGA Tour title and ninth worldwide win.
“I only have one more spot to go,” Park said.
She filled a water bottle in the pond.
“That was for my dad,” Park said. “When I see him next week in Hawaii, I’m going to pour it over him. Yeah, that’s what he wanted.”
She stopped him from making the trip from South Korea to California.
“He packed his bags and booked a ticket and everything and he was on his way,” Park said. “I called him and, like, said, ‘Just don’t come.’ He was very mad because he really wanted to come. But really it was tough stopping him, but he actually listened to me. ... I stopped him because if he came, I would want to win so bad, but that might be on my mind playing today.”