Inbee Park continues to regain the momentum from her fabulous 2013 season. With a victory at last week’s Wegmans LPGA Championship in Pittsford, N.Y., Park has moved back to No. 2 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings and continues to ascend the career major championship victory list.
Here’s a look at Park:
- Majors: Park has won four of the last nine major championships – three last year and then last week. Nearly half of her 11 career LPGA titles have come in majors. Here’s how she ranks in the all-time list of major champions:
|Se Ri Pak||5|
- Hot stretch: Park has finished fourth (Ricoh Women’s British Open), second (loss in a playoff to Mirim Lee at the Meijer Classic) and win (in a playoff with Brittany Lincicome) in her last three starts. She won the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic in early June.
- Putting: Park has been celebrated as the best putter in the women’s game over the past three years. She ranked first in Putting in 2012 and was fifth last year. There was the perception her putting had waned this year, but actually she is ranked second in Putts Per Round this year (29.07 compared to 29.07 last year). Still, she made a change from a mallet head to a blade two weeks ago after taking a liking to friend and fellow South Korean So Yeon Ryu’s putter during the International Crown.
“I just wanted to put this putter in before I go to a major next week and kind of see what it’s like,” Park said at the Meijer Classic two weeks ago, where she lost in a playoff. “It was a good change for me because I hadn’t used a blade putter for about five years. … It feels like it’s going really on line and I feel like I’m stroking the ball a little bit better this week.”
It’s a family affair
There were a lot of family ties, LPGA style, going on last week:
- Gerina Piller finished T13 at the Wegmans LPGA Championship after a final-round 75 at Monroe Golf Club. But she should be excused for her poor final round. Her husband, Martin, shot a final-round 63 to win the Knoxville News-Sentinel Open on the Web.com Tour. It was third career Web.com Tour victory after winning twice in 2010, his previous professional victories. Piller found out he won while standing on the 15th tee at Monroe Golf Club and said she now owes her husband a new truck.
- Lexi Thompson also played poorly on the weekend. Likewise, she may have had an eye on older brother Nicholas. He was ranked 123rd on the FedExCup points list entering the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C. He made the cut on the number and finished tied for 70th, missing the top 125 by one point at No. 126 and failing to get into this week’s start of the FedExCup Playoffs. However, he retained his PGA Tour card for the 2014-15 by finishing in the top 125 in money.
- Even though Brittany Lincicome lost to Inbee Park in a playoff at the Wegmans LPGA Championship, she was supported on site by her boyfriend, Dewald Gouws. The South African is a professional long drive competitor and was the runner-up in the 2008 competition. His best career drive? 434 yards. Lincicome was third at the Wegmans LPGA Championship in Driving Distance at a 276.8-yard average and ranks third on the LPGA this season with a 269.4-yard average.
Another historic course
After tackling the historic Monroe Golf Club last week, the LPGA moves to an even older course this week for the Canada Pacific Canadian Women’s Open. The London Hunt and Country Club was established in 1885 and is one of the original 10 clubs that formed the Royal Canadian Golf Association. The current Robert Trent Jones Sr. design, built in 1960 and renovated by his son Rees in 2000, will play 6,656 yard and play to par 72.
Some quick facts:
- The Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf Series was filmed here in 1968, with Robert de Vicenzo, Dan Sikes and Ben Arda competing in the made-for-TV series.
- Kermit Zarley won the 1970 Canadian Open here.
- Brandie Burton beat Betsy King on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff to capture the 1993 duMaurier Ltd. Classic. Both played finished at 11-under 277.
- Cristie Kerr shot a final-round 65 in the 2006 Canadian Women’s Open to rally from eight behind to top third-round leader Angela Stanford, who shot a final-round 74. Kerr finished at 12-under 276.
Ko as a pro
Lydia Ko helped put the tournament on the worldwide map the last two years when she won the tournament as a 15-year-old and 16-year-old amateur. Seven of her eight rounds were in the 60s, she was a combined 28-under par and won by a combined eight strokes (three in 2012 and five last season). This year marks her first professional start at the tournament.
The last professional to win this event? Brittany Lincicome in 2011.
Kudos to former LPGA player Meaghan Francella. Last week, she pulled double duty in the second round of the Wegmans LPGA Championship. She caddied for Pat Hurst in the morning, then subbed for injured Colin Cann on the bag of Paula Creamer in the afternoon. Unfortunately, both players missed the cut – Hurst shot 70 and Creamer 77. Francella began caddying this season after seven years playing on the LPGA. … After a drought in early 2014, South Korean golfers have been on quite a roll over the past month, winning three consecutive individual titles. That includes South Korean-born New Zealand resident Lydia Ko, rookie Mirim Lee and Inbee Park. … Vancouver Golf Club, the site of Ko’s 2012 Canadian Pacific Women’s Open victory, will be the site again in 2015.