Injured Park looks to make HOF start at KPMG

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Inbee Park’s injured left thumb continues to plague her march into the LPGA Hall of Fame and may threaten her bid to represent the Republic of Korea in the Olympics.

Shortly after signing for an 84 in Thursday’s first round of the Volvik Championship in Ann Arbor, Mich., Park withdrew. It was the highest score she has posted in an LPGA event in her 10 years on tour. It’s the fourth time she has withdrawn from an LPGA event this year because of injury. She withdrew from the Kingsmill Championship last week after six holes of the second round. She withdrew from the Swinging Skirts Classic a couple days before she was scheduled to tee it up there.

“It was torture out there,” Park said after Thursday’s round. “Obviously, I'm just really restricted on my swing. To make a couple movements, it's painful, just wanted to play with the pain and just to see if I can get over it.”

While Park met the 27-point Hall of Fame requirement with the one point she earned claiming the Vare Trophy for low scoring average at the end of last season, she still needed to make 10 starts this year to meet the 10-year membership requirement for induction. Park made her ninth start Thursday at the Volvik Championship. She’s planning to tee it up at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in Seattle (June 9-12) as her next start. She only needs to finish one round there to make an official start and qualify for the Hall of Fame. She will be going for her fourth consecutive victory at the Women’s PGA as the second-year event is linked historically to the LPGA Championship that Park won in 2013 and ‘14.

“I was really looking forward to going to the Hall of Fame moment,” Park said. “So I really like to play in the KPMG tournament, defend my title.  I have a lot of family and friends coming that week, so I like to play through that week.”

Park said earlier in the week she will re-evaluate her injury after the KPMG Women’s PGA start and what she needs to do medically to compete the rest of the season.

“I don’t know, that could be it, so I’m just going to have to wait and see,” she said.