Thursday, December 12, 2019

Park emerges as best Asian as Lowry lifts Claret Jug at The 148th Open

Jul 22. 2019
Korea's Sanghyun Park (Photo by Warren Little/R&A/R&A via Getty Images)
Korea's Sanghyun Park (Photo by Warren Little/R&A/R&A via Getty Images)
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By Asian Tour

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Portrush -  Korea’s Sanghyun Park took home the honours of being the best-placed Asian player after posting a final round two-over-par 72 to sign off from The 148th Open in tied-16th place on Sunday.

 

Ireland’s Shane Lowry swept aside all his closest rivals by closing with a 72 to lift his first Major title in front of the thousands of adoring Irish fans at Royal Portrush.

“It was amazing.  It's just hard to believe. I think there were a lot of people from where I'm from, I spotted a few people in the crowd, and I think a lot of people made the last-minute journey up here this morning because I was leading. And it was just was great out there today.

 

“Portrush have just been incredible. Obviously I've had success here in the past in amateur events. But to be able to win and celebrate with local people is obviously very nice,” said Lowry.

 

Lowry’s winning total of 15-under-par 269 saw him edge out England’s Tommy Fleetwood by a commanding six-shot after the Englishman posted a 74 to finish outright second.

Tony Finau of the United States closed with a 71 to take third place while world number one Brooks Koepka of the United States and England’s Lee Westwood shared fourth place with their 278 total.

Park, who finished second on the Asian Tour Order of Merit in 2018, capped a memorable week at Royal Portrush as he surpassed the likes of Major champions such as Louis Oosthuizen, Henrik Stenson and Jordan Spieth with his final position on the leaderboard.

Starting the day tied for 19th place, the Korean traded two bogeys and a birdie on a cold and wind-swept day to close with a 282 total at Royal Portrush, where the year’s final Major was making its return to after 68 years.

“I’m delighted to have made Asia and Korea proud today. It was not easy playing under such wet and windy conditions and we are generally not used to that. But I managed to hang in there all week and I’m glad my efforts paid off,” said Park.

It was a remarkable turnaround for the 36-year-old as he had missed the cut in his Carnoustie debut last year. 

Park ensured he would prolong his stay in his second appearance at The Open by accustoming himself to the weather conditions by playing at the Irish and Scottish Opens prior to his arrival to Royal Portrush.

“Although I missed the cuts in those two events, it was a very good learning experience. I got to learn how to hit my balls better into the wind and all the different aspects of controlling the ball better,” said Park.

Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat signed off with his best round at The Open with a 67 to take tied-32nd place while South Africa’s Justin Harding posted a 76 to take a share of 41st place.

India’s Shubhankar Sharma, who is the reigning Asian Tour Order of Merit champion, marked his best performance at a Major championship by closing with a 68 to finish tied-51st while Japan’s Yosuke Asaji closed with a 76 to share 67th place with American JB Holmes, Spain’s Sergio Garcia and Belgium’s Thomas Pieters.

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