RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. (AP) – Inbee Park and Pernilla Lindberg played until it was too dark to see Sunday night – and still couldn’t decide the ANA Inspiration.
They’ll return to Mission Hills on Monday morning for the fifth extra hole in the LPGA Tour’s first major of the season.
“Inbee’s one of the best female golfers of all time,” Lindberg said. “So to even have a chance to go out and beat her in a playoff, I think I’m going to sleep great tonight, and I’m going to be ready to go in the morning.”
Jennifer Song dropped out with a par on the third playoff hole, and Park and Lindberg decided to take one more trip down the par-5 18th in fading light.
“They asked us quickly after the third playoff hole if we wanted to do one more, and both Inbee and I looked at each other quickly and said, ‘Yes,'” Lindberg said.
With portable lights and the scoreboard helping illuminate the green, Park holed a 6-footer for par and Lindberg made a short putt to match. They finished at 7:21 p.m., 15 minutes after sunset.
“I was a little nervous because No. 18 is not my favorite hole,” Park said. “The palm tree in the middle with my ball flight is just really hard to hit a driver over it. If you hit a 3-wood, you run out of fairway. So, I really don’t have much of a shot.”
Play will resume at 8 a.m. on the par-4 10th in the first Monday finish in tournament history.
“Finally, we’re playing a different hole tomorrow, so I’m excited about that,” Park said.
On the third extra hole, Park hit a wedge from the rough to 1 1/2 feet to set up a birdie, and Lindberg made a 5-footer. Song missed a 10-foot birdie try.
Park and Song had putts to win on the first two extra holes. Park missed from 15 feet on the first, and Song’s 7-footer went to the right on the second. Park scrambled to save par on the second playoff hole after hitting into the right fairway bunker and nearly hitting her third into Poppie’s Pond right of the green.
“I made some good par saves there to just keep on playing,” Park said.
All three players birdied the par-5 18th, with Song getting to 15 under first with a 5-foot putt. Park followed with a 4-footer in the next group, and Lindberg matched her in the final group. Park and Song shot 5-under 67, and Lindberg had a 71.
Park won in 2013 at Mission Hills and is a seven-time major champion. The 29-year-old Hall of Famer won the Founders Cup two weeks ago in Phoenix for her 19th tour title, a day after revealing she was 50-50 about retiring before returning from a long break. She returned to play a month ago in Singapore after not playing since the Women’s British Open in August.
Lindberg, the third-round leader, is trying to win her first professional title. The 31-year-old Swede made a series of par saves before hitting close on 18 to set up the tying birdie.
“I just kept grinding all day,” Lindberg said. “I’ve always said that the putting has been the strength of my game.”
Song missed a chance for her first tour victory.
“I’m kind of disappointed that I wasn’t able to make those putts in the playoffs, but I learned a lot,” Park said. “I’m just loving this moment right now.”
Jessica Korda (66) and Ariya Jutanugarn (65) were a stroke back.
Korda holed out for eagle from the fairway on the par-5 ninth and for birdie on the par-3 14th but couldn’t overcome a double bogey on the par-4 12th and a bogey on the par-4 16th. On the 12th, she drove far left into the deep rough and advanced her second only a few yards.
“I’m proud of myself for giving myself a chance,” said Korda, the winner in Thailand in February in her return from reconstructive jaw surgery. “Every time I made a mistake, I tried to bounce back as fast as I could.”
Lexi Thompson shot 71 to tie for 20th at 7 under. She won in 2014 and lost a playoff to So Yeon Ryu last year after being penalized four strokes in regulation for a rules violation.
“I had little girls out there supporting me and giving me high-fives between every hole every day,” Thompson said. “Just the whole atmosphere of this event, words can’t even describe it.”
Michelle Wie had a 69 to tie for 30th at 5 under, again fighting though dizziness caused by a virus.
“I woke up this morning and almost passed out again,” Wie said. “I didn’t feel very good warming up, but the more I walked and was out in the fresh air I felt better and better.”
Atthaya Thitikul matched Wie with a 69 in their pairing to top the amateurs at 5 under.