In just her second appearance at the U.S. Women’s Open Championship, Sung Hyun Park finally produced the level of golf that saw her dominate in Korea in recent years. The one they like to call “Namdalla”, which means ‘not normal’ in Korean language, has been on the radar in her home country for a while, but today’s impressive victory will let the rest of the world know that this girl is going to be a top player for years to come.
Park repeated So Yeon Ryu 2011’s feat, by winning in just her second attempt. It was heartache for Park last year, with weekend rounds of 74,74 to just miss out on a playoff. This year will certainly help banish those memories and probably played a factor in her victory.
An incredible up and down on the last to save par under immense pressure by Park was the finish of a deserved champion. She produced 12 birdies in her last 27 holes to further cement her justification as the winner. Having coming up just short last year in her U.S. Women’s Open debut, Park looked in complete control of her nerves throughout the final day.
Park started the weekend seven shots back, but produced the goods when needed, with consecutive rounds of 67 to claim her first victory in the U.S. – not a bad way to start…
In her post round interview, Park was quick to thank her caddie Irishman David Jones, who kept her relaxed throughout the final day and helped her believe that she could win. Jones won last year’s Evian Championship with In Gee Chun, so his experience proved to be invaluable today. Park recently sacked her caddie Colin Cann after just a few months, as she began to feel the pressure of being winless on the LPGA Tour. The expectations from Korea for her to succeed are as high as they were for Seri Pak. Just like all the top female Korean golfers, it’s win or nothing.
It was another incredible week for 17 year old amateur Hye Jin Choi, who was in contention all week and tied for the lead with Park with just three holes to play. Unfortunately, the nerves got to her on the 16th tee as she found the water, which led to a double bogey. But Choi composed herself for the final two holes to finish second by herself. This tied the best amateur result of Brittany Lang and Morgan Pressel in 2005 and her second consecutive finish as top amateur. Next year, Choi will return as a professional.
A final round 68 for M.J. Hur moved her up to T-3rd in a leaderboard dominated by Korean flags once again. This was Hur’s best finish at this tournament.
World number one So Yeon Ryu joined Hur in T-3rd to further cement her position as the world’s best, although with this victory for Park, her next goal will be to claim this top spot.
It was a great week for KLPGA Tour regular Jeong Eun Lee, who secured a top 5 finish on her debut in the U.S. It won’t be toi long before Lee wins on the big stage, who has arguably the best swing in the game at the moment.
The leaderboard says it all. The Korean domination continues, but it may not be too long before Park takes over at the top.
First up, I suppose I better say hello and thank you for visiting my website, whoever you are. I teach, I write, I caddy, I write, I travel, I write. Mostly, about golf if that interests you. Usually interviews for various publications and blog about my caddy adventures.