PARK wins Williams Championship

Sunday, September 9th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ Gloria Park didn't act like a rookie after her first LPGA Tour victory.

Park accepted her trophy with a subdued smile after shooting a 6-under-par 64 and overtaking Donna Andrews to win the inaugural Williams Championship on Sunday.

``I wasn't thinking about winning, first of all. I just wanted to try as best I can do,'' said the 21-year-old South Korean native, who overcame a five-stroke deficit. ``I just play a really good game, I guess, today.''

She was the third straight first-time tour winner, following Heather Daly-Donofrio at the Betsy King Classic and Kate Golden at the Rail Classic. That's the most in a row since there were four straight rookie champions in 1995.

The winner of the 1999 Indonesian Ladies Open, Park won $150,000 with a 9-under 201 total, one stroke ahead of Andrews, who started the second round with a four-shot lead.

Andrews set the course record on Saturday with a 62 that included a self-imposed one-stroke penalty in No. 18 for double-hitting the ball on a putt. She said that made her one-stroke loss ``hard to swallow.''

``But I think I wouldn't have played as well today if I had that in the back of my mind, that I had not done the right thing,'' she said. ``I wouldn't have felt good about myself. That's what is really important in the game of life.''

Park took the lead for good at No. 17 with 5-foot birdie putt. Andrews, who closed with a 70, had a chance to tie on 18, but her 50-footer was just shy of the hole.

Park appeared calm throughout, even when a double-bogey on No. 10 cost her the lead. She recovered with birdies of 8 and 5 feet on Nos. 12 and 13 and then added another on 16.

``I try to forget about that straight away,'' she said. ``I really didn't think about the double bogey after. Like on 11, I try not think about it. Try to think about starting over again.''

Andrews had taken the lead with a birdie on No. 11 and went to 8 under with another one on 15, but parred out and couldn't catch Park.

``After a great score like a 62, it's so hard to come back and shoot under par the next day,'' she said. ``Plus, I just didn't make any putts today. I made a million miles of putts yesterday and that's the difference.''

Rachel Teske, who started the day in a three-way tie for second, had a 71 and was third at 207.

U.S. Women's Open champion Karrie Webb and top money-winner Annika Sorenstam were nowhere near the leaderboard.

Sorenstam had a 71 and was at 3-over 213, while Webb, stymied after a bad start in Friday's swirling gusts, also had a 71 and two strokes further back.