Park Seals Deal with Eagle at Kia Classic; Olson Ties for 2nd
March 29, 2021
CARLSBAD, Calif. -- Inbee Park was flawless on a difficult opening day in the Kia Classic on Thursday, shooting a bogey-free, 6-under-par 66, and she never relinquished the lead.
On Sunday, she clinched her victory with an eagle 2 at the 250-yard, par-4 16th hole at Aviara Golf Club. She made a meaningless bogey at the par-4 18th and posted a 70, which gave her a 72-hole total of 274, five strokes better than the two players who tied for second -- Amy Olson and Lexi Thompson. This was the 21st victory on the LPGA Tour for the 32-year-old from Seoul, South Korea.
It was the first LPGA event that Park has played in this year. Nevertheless, her triumph was worth $270,000, which put her in the No. 3 spot on the 2021 money list.
Olson, the 28-year-old former two-time Minnesota PGA Junior champion from Oxbow, N.D., opened with a 75. But she played herself into contention with a Saturday 67, which also included an eagle at the 16th. She closed with a 68 on Sunday for an aggregate of 279. Her round was bogey free. She birdied the first three par-5's at Aviara and drove the green at the 16th, then two-putted for a birdie to get to 9 under. At the 385-yard, par-4 18th, she hit her second shot to within 18 feet of the cup and lipped out her birdie putt.
Thompson, 26, playing one group behind Olson, matched Olson's birdie at the 16th. She also birdied the par-5 17th and got to minus 10, putting her alone in second, but she three-putted the 18th for a bogey and valedictory 69.
She and Olson made $142,385 each. With that, Thompson moved up to No. 2 on the money list with $362,191. Olson lifted herself up from No. 59 to No. 10. She's made $160,255 in the two tournaments she's played this year. Nelly Korda leads the LPGA money list with $456,042.
Jin Young Ko closed with a 70 and finished alone in fourth place at 280. Hyo Joo Kim and Minjee Lee were another stroke back, at 281, tied for fifth.
Olson, who set an NCAA record with 20 victories at North Dakota State, has never won on the LPGA Tour. But she has finished second twice in majors, including a runner-up finish at the 2020 U.S. Women's Open. The first major of the 2021 season, the ANA Inspiration, will begin Thursday.
At Aviara Golf Club
Par 72, 6,558 yards
1. Inbee Park $270,000 66-69-69-70--274
T2. Amy Olson $142,385 75-69-67-68--279
T2. Lexi Thompson $142,385 72-72-66-68--279
4. Jin Young Ko $92,618 71-71-68-70--280
T5. Hyo Joo Kim $67,770 67-72-72-70--281
T5. Minjee Lee $67,770 72-69-68-72--281
Sarah Burnham 76-74--150