INCHEON (Reuters) – Surprise package Thailand ended South Korea’s hopes of a third straight sweep of the Asian Games golfing medals after winning the women’s team event on Sunday.
Rarely a week goes by on the LPGA Tour without a South Korean challenging for silverware, and while Park Gyeol won the country’s third consecutive individual title, the Thais were simply too hot to handle at the Dream Park Country Club.
Thailand had never won a golf medal at the Asian Games but arrived in Incheon full of confidence and aiming for three.
“They were simply really amazing and fantastic this week,” Park said. “We played rather safely in the Asian Games, but they were really aggressive, aiming for the pin whether it was a putt or a shot.
“We were amazed at the aggressiveness of the team. It was really cool.”
Budsabakorn Sukapan, Supamas Sangchan and Benyapa Niphatsophon finished with a combined 32 under par for the four rounds, seven shots ahead of Park and team mates Choi Hye-jin and Lee So-young, who won the recent Youth Olympic Games title in Nanjing, China.
The best two scores in each round were counted for the team competition.
Park, 18, struggled with a 71 in the opening round but took the individual title after a closing 64 gave her a combined 19 under, one shot ahead of Sukapan.
The bronze went to another Thai, Supamas Sangchan, who finished on 14 under.
Sukapan was proud to win golfing gold for Thailand but looked forward to getting her individual career off the ground.
“I will try to turn pro next year, and try to go to America for the LPGA,” she said.