Tour Life with Sung Hyun Park is a season-long series that follows the 2017 LPGA rookie and her experience of playing her first year on the LPGA Tour.
For those who have followed Sung Hyun Park’s career, today’s news won’t come as much of a surprise. Except to maybe Park.
Monday, she became the No. 1 ranked player in the world.
“I was very surprised and amazed by what I’ve achieved,” Park told LPGA.com about her performance this season.
The news comes one year after Park held a press conference in her home country of Korea to announce she would take up membership on the LPGA Tour. In fact, tomorrow will mark exactly one year ago to the day since Park announced her decision. She was then the 10th ranked player in the world.
“The ultimate goal of my career was to join the LPGA,” Park told LPGA.com last November. “I dreamt of playing side by side with global golf stars and didn’t want to miss the opportunity when it eventually arrived.”
Park moved to the LPGA Tour after a dominating year on the KLPGA. She won seven times in 2016 and topped the Tour’s money list. Her incredible play continued on the LPGA Tour, where she contended in three of the season’s major championships and only once finished outside the top-13 in seven starts. She cleared enough money to finish the season in the top-40 on the LPGA’s money list and with it earned membership on Tour.
Park immediately became a rookie to watch in 2017 and quickly delivered on the expectations that followed.
She's won twice, so far. She captured her first major at the U.S. Women’s Open, which she considers her biggest achievement of the year. She locked up Rookie of the Year honors before the end of the season. She currently owns the second lowest scoring average on Tour. She's ranked second in the Player of the Year standings. And she is now in position to do what just one other player has done in the history of the LPGA Tour. Nancy Lopez is the only player to earn both Rookie and Player of the Year honors in a single season. That was in 1978.
This week in China, Park has a chance to close in on history and the season’s biggest awards. Former world No. 1 So Yeon Ryu, who leads Park in the Player of the Year standings, is not in the field. And Lexi Thompson, who currently leads Park in scoring average, is also taking the week off.
There isn’t a single award that Park would like to win more than another. She’s already “very happy” to be named Rookie of the Year. To her, each award holds a lot of meaning. So much so, the idea of taking home another could mean a few sleepless nights.
“If I get to receive another award like [Rookie of the Year], I probably won’t be able to sleep for two days.”
No one will be surprised if she wins it all at the end of the season. Except for maybe Park.