After a sixth month hiatus from the LPGA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic, LPGA Tour Hall of Fame member Inbee Park returned to competition at last week’s AIG Women’s Open. Battling tough conditions at Royal Troon for the first two rounds, Park climbed her way up the leaderboard on the weekend and, thanks to a final-round 66, finished in solo-fourth place.
After such a long break, Park didn’t set too high of expectations for herself in her return but was pleasantly surprised with her putting.
“It was a tough week in Scotland with the wind and rain conditions, but I feel like I played really well,” Park reflected on Wednesday in Arkansas. “First day was a little bit disappointing, but except for the first day, second round and on, it was great. I feel good about the game, especially I putted really well last week, which makes me really happy. Well, the last time I played before Scotland was in Australia and I've been putting really good there. I was a little bit worried taking six months off after that. Am I going to have my putting feel back? Yeah, there was a little bit of that worry. After playing in Scotland it gave me definitely a little bit of confidence.”
Park has six top-10 finishes in 11 starts at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship including a win in 2013 and a runner-up finish in 2019. Park is, understandably, feeling confident heading into this week’s event at Pinnacle Country Club.
“Well, this golf course is very comfortable golf course for me,” Park said with a confident smile. “I've played this golf course many times. Almost know this golf course like a home golf course. So there is nothing to study about this golf course for me anymore. It's just go out there, have some confidence, and try to make some putts. You're going to -- I think this golf course is going to have a lot of birdies, unless like it gets really windy or gets a lot of rain. I think it's going to be like who makes more putts. So just got to try to hit it close and make a lot of putts. That's the game plan.”
Park will tee off the first round on Friday off the 10th tee at 7:55 a.m. EDT alongside Jasmine Suwannapura and Lydia Ko.