Inbee Park isn’t a power player, but her game appears built for links golf.
There are reasons Park is the favorite to win the Ricoh Women’s British Open this week that go beyond the fact that she is the Rolex world No. 1 and has already won the first three major championships of the year.
Park is middle of the pack in driving distance, averaging 248 yards per drive, but the revamped swing she has built with her fiancé/coach, Gi Hyeob Nam, has made her a low-ball hitter, which well suits navigating the Old Course and the windy conditions that prevail there. She also isn’t just one of the game’s best putters. She’s one of its best lag putters, a key given the giant double greens the Old Course features. Plus, Park has one of the best short games in women’s golf.
While Park has never won a Women’s British Open, she has a strong record in the championship. She finished second to fellow South Korean Jiyai Shin at Royal Liverpool in last year’s championship. In fact, she has top-10 finishes in the last three Women’s British Opens.
“I love playing links golf,” Park said before heading home to South Korea last week. “My ball flight is so low; I love to play in the wind.”
And she loves St. Andrews, the home of golf. When Park qualified to play in her first Women’s British Open six years ago, she did so in style, earning a spot in the first women’s major championship ever played at the Old Course. Park tied for 11th when Lorena Ochoa won at St. Andrews in 2007. She was just 19.
“I remember St. Andrews like I played it this year,” Park said. “That’s stuck in my head for a long time. We had very bad weather in 2007. It got really windy, we got some rain.
“The golf course, setup wise, I love ... Everything about that golf course is very special.”