Inbee Park is within sixteen hundredths of a point of No. 1 Lydia Ko in the Rolex world rankings entering this week’s Manulife LPGA Classic at Whistle Bear Golf Club in Cambridge, Ontario.
Canada seems a perfect place for Park and Ko to renew their battle for the top spot.
Park is the defending champion at Manulife, Ko won the first two of her seven LPGA titles in Canada. They’re both seeking to claim a tour best third LPGA title this season.
“I’ve had a lot of good finishes in Canada, so I’m really looking to play good again in Canada,” Park said Wednesday in her pretournament interview.
Ko said Canada reminds her of home in New Zealand.
“I think just the whole atmosphere, not necessarily the golf course, but just outside, in the little towns or shops, or like even kind of the trees and all that,” Ko said.
Ko has reigned at No. 1 for 18 consecutive weeks. She took the top spot from Park after tying for second at the season-opening Coates Golf Championship. Park, though, can take back the top ranking with a finish of eighth or better this week, depending on what Ko does. Rolex world No. 3 Stacy Lewis isn’t close enough yet to take back the top spot, even with a victory.
With Ko off last week, Park tied for fifth at the ShopRite Classic, moving to 10.73 as her Rolex world ranking average. Ko is at 10.89.
Questions about the battle for No. 1 can be tiresome for Ko, Park and Lewis with that top ranking up for grabs so often when they’re playing.
“If I was always No. 2 and never got to the No. 1 spot, I would really, really want it,” Park said. “But knowing I've been there, and knowing good golf is going to put me there, there's no rush to it. We play every week together, and if I play well I'm going to be there no matter what.”
Park has reigned at No. 1 for a total of 73 weeks over two extended periods.