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Defending champion Park opens with 76

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PINEHURST, N.C. – Inbee Park left Pinehurst No. 2 Thursday wondering what hit her.

Park arrived for the U.S. Women’s Open off a victory in her last LPGA start. She also arrived as this major's defending champion and a two-time U.S. Women’s Open winner.

She left the course Thursday with a 76.

“I just don't know what happened,” Park said. “I was just really shocked how the golf course was playing. It’s so easy to make a lot of big numbers here.”


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Park made a double bogey at No. 3 that summed up her day. She drove it into the waste area on the right, where she got a bad lie up against a wire-grass sprig. She tried to gash her approach on to the green, but it came out low and ran off the back onto a sandy pathway. She fluffed her third short of the green, then clumsily chipped to 15 feet and missed the bogey putt.

“I think my plan has definitely changed,” Park said. “My plan will be making less bogeys tomorrow and trying to just stay out of the trouble. It’s not so much about the trophy anymore, just trying to keep it in play.”

Park won the first three majors last year. She’s off to a sluggish start in the majors this year. She finished 38th at the Kraft Nabisco in April and will need to rally Friday to avoid missing the cut here.