Rolex world No. 1 Inbee Park bounced back strong from last week’s missed cut at the Airbus LPGA Classic, her first missed cut on the tour in a year.
Park opened with a 5-under-par 66 Friday at the ShopRite Classic in Galloway, N.J., getting her in the early hunt at the Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club’s Bay Course.
“Obviously, I wasn't really confident after last week's cut,” Park told reporters after her round.
Park is looking for her first LPGA title since winning the U.S. Women’s Open almost a year ago. She is holding the No. 1 ranking for a 59th consecutive week, though she is being pushed hard by No. 2 Stacy Lewis and No. 3 Lydia Ko, both of whom have chances to overtake Park this weekend in the rankings.
“It is very important,” Park said of the No. 1 ranking. “But, I mean, I try to have fun before I try and think about the numbers, or somebody trying to catch me. Not to try to think so much about that. My main goal is to play well in the tournaments, and strike the ball well, and try to hole some putts. Yeah, No. 1 is very important, but it's not everything.”
Notably, Ko actually sits in a slightly better position to overtake Park than Lewis, because Ko’s divisor is lower with fewer starts.
Here are the No. 1 scenarios for Lewis and Ko:
Lewis moves to No. 1 with ...
* A victory.
* Solo 2nd place, as long as Park or Ko don’t win.
* Solo 3rd place, as long as Park and Ko finish worse than 5th.
* Solo 9th or better, if both Park and Ko miss the cut.
Ko moves to No. 1 with ...
* A victory.
* Solo 2nd or T-2, as long as Park or Lewis don’t win.
* Tie for 3rd, as long as Park or Lewis finish tied for 3rd or worse.
* 12th or better, if both Park and Lewis miss the cut.