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June 30, 2017

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Lee tops Park in LPGA playoff, wins first title

BELMONT, California -- South Korea's Lee Mi-Rim birdied the second playoff hole to beat former world number one Park In-Bee Sunday, winning her first LPGA title in the inaugural Meijer Classic.

The 23-year-old Lee fired a two-under par final-round 69 to finish tied with Park on 14-under par 270.

Park, who took a one-stroke lead into the final round, closed with a one-under 70.

After both players parred the first playoff hole, Park's 20-foot birdie attempt at the second hole of sudden death lipped out.

Lee then calmly rolled in her five-footer for the win.

Lee had four birdies and two bogeys in her round at Blythefield Country Club.

Park got off to a quick start, with birdies at the first and third, but wouldn't find another birdie the rest of the way and gave a shot back with a bogey at 14. Lee, who earned her first career win on the LPGA Tour, carded a 2-under 69 during her final round at 14.

Norway's Suzann Pettersen finished in third place after a 69 for 271.

Japan's Haru Nomura closed with a 68 for 274 to finish alone in fourth.

Three players shared fifth place on nine-under 275: Germany's Sandra Gal (66), South Korean Amy Yang (68) and Denmark's Line Vedel (70).

Lee, whose previous best LPGA finish was a tie for second at the JTBC Founders Cup, became the fourth first-time winner on the tour this year along with New Zealand teenager Lydia Ko and Americans Lizette Salas and Mo Martin.

She's the first player to capture her first LPGA title in a playoff since Yang in the 2013 HanaBank Championship.

Lee said dueling with Park made the day even more special.

"In-Bee Park is like hero in Korea, so I just long to (be like) her, just follow her," Lee said.

Park was unlucky at the first playoff hole. She fired an approach that hit the flagstick and the cup but didn't fall and ended up 15 feet past the hole.

"I hit two good tee shots and two good second shots," she said of the playoff holes. At the second, she added, "I feel I hit a good putt, but it just didn't go in."

That was something of a theme for her entire day.

"Overall today I just hit the ball really great today, very consistent for four days, but today I think I only holed one putt today.

"The putter just wasn't there, so nice to shoot under par but Mi-Rim played well in the playoff holes."

Park notched her 10th top-10 finish of the season heading into the LPGA's fourth major of 2014, the LPGA Championships at Pittsford, New York.

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