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Top Moments of 2018 - #8: Park Pounces in Playoff

Editor’s Note: This is the third of a series of 10 vignettes in which IMS Senior Communications Manager Paul Kelly picks his top 10 moments of 2018 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

One of the best comeback drives to victory since Jacques Villeneuve rallied from two laps down to win the 1995 Indianapolis 500 didn’t come on the IMS oval this year. The stirring win came at Brickyard Crossing Golf Course, which includes four holes inside the oval and 14 outside the backstretch.

Korean golfer Sung Hyun Park overcame a two-stroke deficit at the start of the final round to beat Lizette Salas of the United States on the first playoff hole Aug. 19 to win the second annual Indy Women in Tech Driven by Group 1001 LPGA tournament.

Park earned $300,000 and climbed to No. 1 in the women’s world golf rankings with the victory, her third of the Ladies Professional Golf Association season.

American superstar Lexi Thompson cruised to a popular four-shot victory in 2017 when the LPGA returned to Brickyard Crossing for the first time since 1968. But this year’s tournament featured drama down the stretch that matched anything produced by race cars on the final lap of the Indianapolis 500 or Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard.

Park was six shots behind leader Salas after the first day, when Salas sizzled with a course-record round of 62 and Park managed a 68. But Park climbed into a tie for the lead with Salas and Jin Young Ko by shooting 63 in the second round.

Salas edged ahead by two shots with a 64 in the third round, while Park shot 66.

But Park closed the gap over the final round, with Salas holding a one-shot lead on the 17th hole while Park was in the clubhouse after finishing her round. Salas’ tee shot on 17 landed in the rough, and she went on to miss an 8-foot putt and bogey the hole, falling into a tie for the lead with Park.

Salas then missed a 4-foot birdie putt for victory on the 18th hole to the dismay of the fans at Brickyard Crossing, forcing a playoff.

Park wasted little time on the first playoff hole despite returning to the course from the clubhouse. She drained a downhill putt on the 18th green to win.

It was a scintillating yet cruel ending to a fantastic four days of competitive golf at Brickyard Crossing. Fan favorite Salas had her second runner-up finish of the season, while Park enjoyed the spoils of kissing the Yard of Bricks and drinking cold milk in celebration.

 
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