SAN FRANCISCO – Rather a lot has modified since Inbee Park competed in her first U.S. Women’s Open in 2004.
Since then she’s change into a seven-time main champion, received 21 occasions on the LPGA Tour and captured Olympic gold.
What hasn’t modified is her need to win.
“Every week I compete trying to win, no matter if it’s my 20th win, 30th win, it doesn’t matter,” Park stated Tuesday at The Olympic Club. “I think you’re just trying to go one more.”
Park performed in her first U.S. Women’s Open 15 years in the past at The Orchards as an novice. On Tuesday, she performed a observe spherical with an novice, a younger participant from Japan, who took a no-holds-barred method to tackling the main championship.
“My first U.S. Open, I was an amateur, so I had nothing to be afraid of,” Park recalled, feeling the identical means as her most up-to-date novice enjoying associate. “She just looked nothing to be scared of on this golf course and just bombing the balls. I kind of envy that, and I don’t think I’ll be able to ever do that again.”
Now 32, Park returns to the U.S. Women’s Open an achieved veteran who has matured as each an individual and a participant since that first spherical at The Orchards. The concept of bombing golf balls at a serious championship isn’t a thought she’d remotely entertain at this stage in her profession. Instead, Park has change into a tactician. She’s engineered a sport that’s constructed for achievement in main championships. In 2021, she leads the tour in each scoring common and placing.
Perhaps extra importantly, she has a mindset suited to main championships, significantly the check introduced at a U.S. Women’s Open. Twice, Park has outlasted the USGA’s hardest check. In 2008, she received her first main title at Interlachen Country Club, turning into the youngest champion at 19 years, 11 months and 17 days. In 2013, she captured a second title in the midst of successful three consecutive majors on tour.
Since her U.S. Women’s Open victory in 2013, Park has the most top-10 finishes (21) and most rounds in the 60s (50). She additionally holds the lowest scoring common in the championship at 70.68 and leads at a cumulative 112 strokes underneath par.
“I think it’s just my game really suits the tough golf courses, and probably I’m pretty calm on the golf course too,” Park stated. “Whatever happens on the golf course, I kind of manage myself to stay calm no matter what.”
Park arrives at the U.S. Women’s Open at Olympic Club poised to make history but again. With a victory, she would change into the first participant since Annika Sorenstam in 2006 to seize three U.S. Women’s Opens. Should she win an eighth main title, she would transfer right into a tie for sixth for many main victories in LPGA Tour history.
“I don’t really have an exact number,” Park stated when requested about the variety of majors she hopes to win. “I think I actually have definitely gone beyond my number anyway. I’ve definitely achieved a lot more than I really thought.”