South Korea’s Inbee Park claimed the first Olympic gold in women’s golf since 1900 as Britain’s Charley Hull came up short in her bid for a medal.
Park carded a closing 66 at Reserva de Marapendi to finish 16 under par, five shots clear of world No 1 Lydia Ko, who birdied the last to claim silver ahead of China’s Shanshan Feng.
“This is definitely one of the special moments in my golfing career and in my whole life,” Park said. “It feels great. Obviously representing your country, winning the gold, it’s so special. It’s just really all I’ve wanted. I’m just happy.”
Japan’s Harukyo Nomura, American Stacy Lewis and South Korea’s Hee Young Yang shared fourth place on nine under, with Hull tied for seventh another shot back alongside Canada’s Brooke Henderson and Australia’s Minjee Lee.
Park took a two-shot lead into the final round and was six clear after a hat-trick of birdies from the third and another on the eighth, before Feng closed the gap with a birdie on the 10th.
When Park bogeyed the 10th after pulling her tee shot into the water as Feng birdied the 11th in the group ahead, the gap was down to just three shots heading into the toughest part of the course.
However, Park quickly regained her composure and birdies on the 13th, 15th and 17th sealed victory and saw the focus switch to the tense battle for silver and bronze.
Feng set the target on 10 under after a closing 69, but was left to regret three-putting the 18th for par from just short of the green, leaving the door open for Ko in the group behind.
After driving the green on the short 16th to set up a two-putt birdie, the 19-year-old New Zealander pitched to seven feet on the 18th and saw her birdie putt catch the left edge of the hole and drop into the cup.
Hull was within a shot of the bronze medal position after a birdie on the 11th, but three-putted the 13th and was unable to pick up any shots until a two-putt birdie on the 18th.
“I was quite happy with the way I finished,” the 20-year-old said after a final-round of 68. “I hit a great shot into the last and could have raced that [eagle] putt a little bit more, but I left it a little bit short.
“But I’m happy. Especially on the back nine I gave myself plenty of opportunities, I just didn’t hole them. I missed one short putt which is a bit silly but apart from that I feel like my game is in good shape.
“My first Olympics was a fantastic experience and I got a good buzz off it.”
Hull’s team-mate Catriona Matthew carded a closing 70 to finish 29th, with Ireland’s Leona Maguire tied for 21st after a 69 and team-mate Stephanie Meadow 31st following a 72.