Lewis could take No. 1 from Park in Alabama


Inbee Park returns to action this week seeking her first LPGA title in almost a year.

Park will tee it up at the Airbus LPGA Classic in Mobile, Ala., Thursday looking for her first LPGA victory since she won the U.S. Women’s Open last June. She did win on the Ladies European Tour in March, taking the Mission Hills World Ladies Championship.

Park, who took last week off, has reigned atop the Rolex Women’s World Rankings for 58 consecutive weeks, but has watched challengers move within reach of overtaking her since late last season.

That’s the case again this week.

World No. 2 Stacy Lewis can overtake Park with a first, second or third-place finish this weekend, depending on what Park does.

Rolex No. 3 Lydia Ko also is within striking distance but isn’t playing this week.

Park says she isn’t worrying about her ranking.

“I don’t really think about that No. 1 spot as much as people think,” Park said Wednesday in her pre-tournament news conference. “Everybody talks about being No. 1, and if you have a big lead, small lead, or how many weeks are you going to hold it, or you could be No. 2 next week. I don't think about that.

“I just can't be really bothered, trying to think about numbers. I just think that numbers take my fun away. So, I'm just trying to enjoy the game and not think so much about the numbers. It doesn't really matter to me. I reached my goals, and I've put myself into position, where I want to. I feel good about my game, and I just play my own game and just can't control what everybody else is doing.”

Lewis wants that top ranking.

“Being No. 1 in the world is definitely a goal, but you can’t think about it all the time,” Lewis said. “If it’s something I’m thinking about while trying to make a birdie putt, it’s not going to happen, so I just have to keep doing what I know is right.”

Lewis will move to No. 1 this weekend if she:

• Wins, guaranteeing she ascends no matter what Park does.

• Finishes solo second while Park finishes no better than T-4 with two or more players.

• Finishes T-2 with one other player while Park finishes ninth or worse.

• Finishes T-2 with two other players while Park finishes 17th or worse.

• Finishes solo third while Park finishes 26th or worse.