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Park and Lindberg's battle extended by darkness

Darkness brings a halt to play (Photo: Getty Images)
Despite four attempts to break a play-off deadlock at the ANA Inspiration in Rancho Mirage in California, Inbee Park and Pernilla Lindberg are now required to return to the Mission Hills Country Club’s Dinah Shore Tournament Course at 8.00am on Monday local time to decide the winner of the first major championship of 2018.

Three players, Park, Lindberg and Jennifer Song had tied for the 72 hole lead before heading back to the 18th and, at the third attempt, Song was unable to match the birdies of Park and Lindberg and bowed out.

In near darkness, Park and Song agreed to play one more hole although lights were required to support their cause and when both players parred the par 5 18th there was no alternative but to carry the playoff over until the following day.

All three in the playoff finished their 72 holes at 15 under par, strong finishing rounds of 67 sweeping Park then Song into the lead before Lindberg, who had led by three into day four, birdied her final hole to join the playoff.

Ariya Jutanugarn and Jessica Korda tied for 3rd just one shot back after Jutanugarn stormed into a share of the lead with her round of 65, the best recorded on day four. Both would be required to wait nearly an hour before being overtaken by the playoff trio.

Park appeared as if she might have blown her chances when she missed the green left at the 16th and bogeyed to drop out of the lead which she then shared but she would birdie her final two holes to finish at 15 under and join the lead with Song who had finished ten minutes earlier.

All three players birdied the 72nd hole, Lindberg displaying admirable fortitude after a shaky start to a day which might have seen her win her first ever tournament as a professional.

It might still but that potential feat will have to wait another day as she and Park start again tomorrow to decide the winner of one of the game’s female more historic events.

Park is chasing her 8th major title and Lindberg, not only her first major but her first win in the paid ranks. The Swede has shown tremendous resilience in the face of tremendous pressure however given what was, and still is, at stake.

Hannah Green, playing in her first ever major championship, produced the second equal best round of the day to move from a share of 41st to a finishing share of 16th, an impressive start to her career at this level. She would finish the week as the leading Australian.

Hannah Green - best of the Australians

Minjee Lee began the final day on the edge of contention but was unable to match her third round of 64’s heroics and finished with 73 for a share of 25th.

Sarah Jane Smith closed strongly with a round of 69 to finish 40th.

And so, the golfing world must wait another day to witness either an 8th major by the brilliant Park or the breakthrough professional victory by Lindberg.

Both results, in what is in some respects a David and Goliath battle, would have their supporters but whatever the outcome the 4th round of the 2018 ANA Inspiration has been a memorable one.






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