Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Park Hopes to Make It Past Historic First Round in Women's PGA

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Park Hopes to Make It Past Historic First Round in Women's PGA

Article excerpt

SAMMAMISH, Wash. * No matter the outcome, the first round of the Women's PGA Championship will be memorable for Inbee Park.

It's the round that Park needs to complete to be eligible for the LPGA Hall of Fame and become the youngest player ever to reach eligibility at age 27. It's the rest of the LPGA's second major of the season that is a major question mark for the three-time defending champion of the event.

"I will try so hard to enjoy it. I think there is definitely going to be some nerves that come. Obviously it's wrapping up what I've done for the last 10 years. It's a very important day and going to be a very memorable day for me," Park said. "It's going to be hard. I really can't imagine myself walking up to 18 and just actually waiting for the last putt."

Instead of all the discussion being whether Park can become the first female golfer to win the same major championship four times in a row, the question is whether the South Korean star and her injured thumb will be able to last more than one round at Sahalee Country Club.

Park said the inflammation in her left thumb has improved since she last played in the Volvik Championship on May 27. But her round during Tuesday's pro-am at Sahalee was the first 18-hole round Park has played since withdrawing from that event after shooting 84.

The Volvik Championship was the second straight event that Park withdrew after the first round. She sounded confident Wednesday that won't happen again.

"I'm going to do my best to play as many holes as I can. That's what I try and do every time I play," Park said. "I feel like this week is such a better week than the weeks I've had before. I'm very positive that I can play some better golf than the last couple of weeks."

With Park's thumb injury potentially taking her out of contention, the bulk of the attention will fall to No. 1 ranked Lydia Ko and Thailand's rising star Ariya Jutanugarn, the winner of her past three tournaments.

Ko has held the top spot in the world rankings for 33 weeks and claimed the last two majors, winning at The Evian Championship last season and then taking advantage of Jutanugarn's late struggles to win the ANA Inspiration in early April. …

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