Inbee Park didn’t waste any time getting right back on another leaderboard.
With a 6-under-par 65 in Thursday’s first round of the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic, Park is in the early hunt to win a record-tying fourth consecutive LPGA title and her seventh on tour this year.
In a round of seven birdies and one bogey at Grey Silo Golf Course in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, Park finished two shots behind Catriona Matthew among the morning wave.
“I’m really satisfied with the way I played today,” Park said. “I hit the ball great, I putted great.”
Park hit 13 of 14 fairways, hit 13 greens in regulation and took 26 putts.
Park is playing for the first time since she won the U.S. Women’s Open 11 days ago to join Babe Zaharias (1950) as the only players to win the first three majors of the year in the women’s game. She also has won the last three LPGA events. If she wins her fourth in a row, she will equal yet another LPGA record, tying Mickey Wright, Kathy Whitworth and Annika Sorenstam for most consecutive victories in scheduled events. Wright did it twice, in 1962 and again in ’63. Nancy Lopez and Sorenstam share the record for winning the most consecutive LPGA starts with five. The difference in the records is not all five of their starts came in consecutive events on the tour schedule.
With her impressively consistent level of play, Park has managed to put herself in contention in just about every tournament she has played the last year. She has finished T-2 or better in 14 of her 27 LPGA starts dating back to last year’s Manulife Financial.
“That's one of my goals every week, being in contention Sunday, and playing for a win on Sunday,” Park said. “Whether you win or not, you at least have a chance at a win on Sunday. That's the type of player I am.”
Park came out strong Thursday morning, making birdie at the second hole and then running off four birdies in a row to briefly take the lead through eight holes. Park nearly won the Manulife Financial last year, losing in a playoff to Brittany Lang.