RIO DE JANEIRO — Steady as she goes, stoic in nature, Inbee Park of South Korea rarely lets anything knock her off balance.
Damaged left thumb? No biggie. Wind gusts that sent capybaras scurrying for cover? Ho-hum. Dealing with the pressure of winning a gold medal? Got it covered. And cracking after messing up the 10th hole? Hardly.
Park, who hadn’t finished a tournament since April and had not played an LPGA tour event in two months because of an injured left thumb, captured the gold medal with sterling play Saturday in the women’s golf tournament at Olympic Golf Course.
The former world No. 1 and winner of seven major championships was an unflappable front-runner the last three rounds and capped off her victory with a final-round 5-under-par 66 to polish off women’s golf’s return to the Olympics for the first time in 116 years.
At 16 under for the tournament, Park was five shots clear of silver medalist and world No. 1 Lydia Ko, who birdied the last hole to shoot 69 and finish one stroke ahead of bronze medalist Shanshan Feng, who shot 69.
A large and boisterous…