Like a prize-fighter, Inbee Park took a left hook from the Sebonack Golf Club on Saturday, and in true championship form, was the only player in the field at the US Women’s Open to card an under par round. Park stumbled when she hit the back nine at the site on the Peconic Bay, but got off the canvas and finished strong, including a birdie at the 18th hole.
Park is close to making history on the LPGA Tour by tieing a mark set by Babe Zaharias in 1950 of wining three consecutive majors in one calender year. In 1950, there were only three majors, and Zaharias won all three. Park won the Kraft Nabisco Championship, and Wegmans LPGA Championship earlier in the year, and now only needs to win Sunday to complete the deal.
With over 40 players needing to complete their second rounds on Saturday morning because of fog delays on Friday, Park began her third round in the new windy conditions on the course in Southampton that provided a US Open challenge to all of the players, including Park.
The Rolex Number one player managed only one birdie on the front nine, and hit a bump starting on the 13th hole with three consecutive bogeys. She immediately came back with two birdies at the 14th and 15th holes before closing with the one at 18 that would give her the only round of the day under par, and a four shot lead over her nearest competitor, I.K. Kim.
When asked about the history possibilities and her four shot lead starting on Sunday, the 23 year-old South Korean had this to say:
“I’m going to try to do the same thing that I did for the last 3 days.” Park said after her round on Saturday. “It will be a big day, but it’s just a round of golf. I just try not to think about it so much. I just try to concentrate on whatever I’m doing on the golf course.”
If anyone can tie this historical mark, Inbee Park has both, the game, and demeanor to do so. She is the most even-tempered player on the LPGA Tour. You can’t tell by watching her play if she is tied for 34th place, or is coming down the stretch with a five shot lead.
She drives the ball in the fairway, has a good short game, but can putt as good as anyone on any tour. She will begin her Sunday at Sebonack with a four shot lead over I.K. Kim, and with only four players at par, or below, we should see history being made at The US Women’s Open on this day.