Sunday, June 29, 2008

Impressive Win from In-Bee Park

In-Bee Park became the youngest winner in the history of the US Women's Open on Sunday at Interlachen in Minnesota, replacing Se Ri Pak as the owner of that distinction. It was an impressive performance for the week for Park, being the only player to post an under par round every day. In the end, she won by four shots over Helen Alfredsson. The overnight leaders, Stacy Lewis and Paula Creamer, faltered significantly and finished at -4 and and -3 respectively.

What did it for In-Bee, though, is not the usual US Open mantra of fairways and greens. Park was T28 in fairways hit for the week. She was T21 in greens in regulation. But, she was T2 in putting and that was critical to her momentum. Everytime Park faced a clutch par putt or an opportunity to score, she seemed to make it.

Her calm demeanor and prior experience in pressure-packed situations (having won the US Girls Junior previously) really carried her through. Perhaps even some naivety helped, too, as she did not know that she had such a huge lead until 16. Without the realization of the moment she was in, all she had to do was finish it off once she realized it.

In-Bee is another shred of proof that the movement that Se Ri Pak began 10 years ago has really come full circle. With Park's victory and the fact that more Asian players made the cut than Americans, it can call into question the direction of the sport for Americans - and the direction that the LPGA Tour will take next.

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