Park in China seeking second straight win

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Inbee Park will be looking to win in back-to-back weeks when she tees it up Thursday in defense of her title in a Ladies European Tour event at the World Ladies Championship in China.

Three of the top eight players in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings are playing the Mission Hills Blackstone Course in Hainan. No. 2 Park, No. 5 Suzann Pettersen and No. 8 So Yeon Ryu are all scheduled to play. Park and Pettersen, the last two champions of this event, are paired together for the first two rounds.

Park is coming off an impressive victory at the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore, where she held off world No. 1 Lydia Ko and No. 3 Stacy Lewis in a head-to-head final-round pairing. Park didn’t make a bogey in Singapore and arrives at Mission Hills having not made a bogey over her last 92 holes of competition. She won in a five-shot rout at Mission Hills last year.

Pettersen won the World Ladies Championship in 2013 and finished second to Park at Mission Hills in 2014.

Though three of the top eight in the world are playing in China, Park won’t be able to overtake Ko for the No. 1 ranking this week, even with a victory. The strength of field isn’t rated high enough to give her the points she needs. Neither Park nor Pettersen is committed to next week’s JTBC Founders Cup in Phoenix, though Ko and Lewis are scheduled to play.