RIO DE JANEIRO – With something well less than her best stuff, Inbee Park battled difficult conditions and an all-star leaderboard on Day 3 at Olympic Golf Club on her way to a two-stroke lead.
But even more impressive than her play on Day 3 in Rio, where she countered five bogeys with six birdies, may have been the South Korean’s resolve this week.
Park didn’t even know if she would be able to play in the Olympics until about a month ago as she recovered from a left-thumb injury. She arrived in Rio with admittedly low expectations.
“Somewhere in my heart, after I made the decision to play this week, I really believed in myself that I can do it,” said Park, whose 70 on Friday moved her two strokes clear of Lydia Ko and Gerina Piller. “If I didn't have a trust in myself, I wouldn't be playing this week.”
Park last played a LPGA event in early June, where she missed the cut at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. She spent the last two months rehabbing her injured thumb and focusing on the Olympics.
That resolve certainly paid off on Friday when winds whipped to 35 mph and many of the game’s best players challenged her. The most notable challenger was world No. 1 Ko, who shot the day’s best score with a 6-under 65.
“I just gave my body a good rest and I tried to gather a lot of things mentally. Tried to come here mentally and physically strong, and that's what I did,” Park said. “I didn't expect much of a result, but what I want to do is I want to show all the people how hard I've worked.”