GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP, NJ ---
Playing in only her fifth LPGA event, Long Island native Annie Park broke into the LPGA win column with a sparkling effort at the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer.
Just 23, Park displayed a smooth putting stroke amid the nerves that built throughout her final round. She harnessed her emotion and compiled a superb closing 63 to go with earlier rounds of 69 and 65 for a 16-under-par 197. That was one shot better than Sakura Yokomine and two shots ahead of Marina Alex.
The victory gave her a $262,500 pay day and invitation to all of the LPGA majors.
"I was nervous, I'd be lying if I said otherwise," said the champion, who uses a lengthened putter. "My putting held together, and I kept making putts under pressure. They kept going in."
Park has played the tour for a couple years, with limited success.
"I've had my ups and downs, but never stopped believing in myself, my game," said the champion.
Bucks County's two entries, Neshaminy grad Brittany Benvenuto and Pennsburg grad Jackie Rogowicz, failed to make the 36-hole cut.
Benvenuto played in her fifth event of her rookie season and fashioned a 1-under-par 70 to go along with a first round 76 for 146 total. The below par round was on her 30th birthday.
"I played well today," said Benvenuto. "Yesterday, I didn't get any luck. Today, I played my game. I'm hitting the ball well."
Rogowicz, who earned a spot in the field through pfre-qualifying and qualifying events, is an incoming Penn State University senior. She posted a 72 to go along with a nervous 83 opening round for a 13-over-par 155.
CHIP SHOTS: Benvenuto is in the final field for this week’s Maijer Classic in Grand Rapids. She is playing on a medical exemption after missing all of last season with back and neck issues. She expects to play in 11-12 events this season and hopes to earn enough official money to retain LPGA status.