Park halfway to history at U.S. Women's Open


SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. – Inbee Park’s march toward history continued Friday in the suspended second round of the U.S. Women’s Open.

Blustery winds over Sebonack Golf Club couldn’t stop her and neither could the wall of fog blowing in off the Great Peconic Bay.

As the Rolex world No. 1, Park played with No. 2 Stacy Lewis and No. 3 Suzann Pettersen. They couldn’t stop her from climbing to the top of the leaderboard either. They got routed over two days.

With a 4-under-par 68, Park put herself in prime position to become the first player in six decades to win the first three major championships of the year. At 9-under overall, she sits two shots ahead of fellow South Korean I.K. Kim (69) and five ahead of American Lizette Salas (72) and England’s Jodi Ewart, who is among 41 players who were still on the course when fog suspended play for the day at 6:40 p.m.

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Park is looking to go wire-to-wire at the U.S. Women’s Open and join Babe Zaharias (1950) as the only players to open the season with a trifecta of major titles.

“It’s tough not to think about that,” Park said. “I just try to think that it’s not a big deal. If I want to do it so much, it’s just too tough, and it puts too much pressure on you. So, I try not to think about it too much.”

Park was so dominant over the last two days, she finished 12 shots ahead of Lewis and 19 ahead of Pettersen in that marquee grouping of the world’s top three players.

She is frustrating the world’s best players with her uncanny putting touch.

“It's frustrating because she is not exactly knocking the flags down,” Lewis said. “She is making putts off the edge of the greens, ones that you wouldn't expect her to make. It's definitely frustrating for us watching.”

Park rolled in a 30-foot birdie from the off the green at the 13th. Even the fog couldn’t shake her focus. With the heaviest mist blowing in, Park rolled in an 8-foot birdie at the last hole. She was just able to finish with the horn blowing to suspend play coming after her threesome teed off on the final hole.

While Lewis was confounded by all the putts she saw falling, Park actually hit two more greens than she hit on Thursday while taking three more putts.

“I had hit the ball so good today,” Park said. “I didn't miss many shots out there, got a lot of opportunities at birdie in these kind of conditions, where there was wind and fog.  Everything was very tough conditions out there to play in.”

Park has already won five LPGA events this season, including the last two. She has won seven times in her last 27 starts. Even more remarkably, she has finished T-4 or better in 16 of them. She’s practically always on the leaderboard nowadays.

South Korea should be intensely interested with Park, Kim and So Yeon Ryu (T-7) in weekend position to make a run at giving that country its fifth straight major championship triumph and its fifth U.S. Women’s Open title in the last six played.