In her quest to become the first golfer to win four majors in the same calendar year, Inbee Park opened with a 69 in the first round of the Women’s British Open. Although the 25-year-old South Korean had a disappointing finish with a bogey on the 16th and then a double-bogey on the 17th at the Old Course, she only trails co-leaders Morgan Pressel and Camilla Lennarth.
“A little disappointing, but I’m glad that I’ve done that in the first round instead of the final round,” said Park, referring to her finish.
What a slacker!
Park’s strong putting has propelled her to six victories this season, including, of course, the first three majors, but on Thursday she had two three-putts, which isn’t hard to do with the massive greens at St. Andrews.
Park, who has seemed unflappable, admitted to feeling nerves on the first tee — though you would never have known considering she birdied six of the first 10 holes — but they disappeared once she got her round going.
“Once the round started, and especially playing so good the first few holes, that really gave me a lot of confidence,” Park said. “I didn’t feel much pressure during the round. I’m just glad that it is already started and I got the first round under my belt.”
Park said she was surprised by some of her missed shots coming down the stretch on Thursday.
“I thought that I fixed my problems coming into this week. I was hitting it so good on the practice round and I didn’t really miss any balls,” Park said. “I thought I was really prepared, but those couple of bad shots really shocked me. I couldn’t really concentrate on the greens when I hit those shots. I’ve learned my lesson. Good thing I’ve got my time to fix that today and tomorrow.”
The last woman to achieve win the first three majors of the season was Babe Zaharias in 1950. With the LPGA adding an inaugural fifth major, the Evian Masters, there’s been some debate on how to define Park’s feat if she manages to win this week. Which, personally, I don’t think should even be a question — it’d be the Grand Slam.
Even LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan feels the same way.
“It’s historic. We’ve never seen it before,” Whan told ESPN. “I was telling my kids on the phone this week you may never see this again and your kids may never see it again.If Inbee does it, you have to call it a Grand Slam. You can’t say she did something less than what’s done before.
“She’s a Grand Slam winner if she raises the trophy at St. Andrews. If she wins five, she’s a Super Slam winner.”
(AP Photo/Scott Heppell)