No. 1 golfer Park In-bee won’t play at Safeway

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No. 1 golfer Park In-bee won’t play at Safeway

PORTLAND, Oregon - Stacy Lewis is back. Park In-bee is out.

The second-ranked Lewis is set to return to play Thursday in the Safeway Classic after withdrawing from the CN Canadian Women’s Open last week, while the top-ranked Park has pulled out of the event because of flu-like symptoms.

“I’ve never withdrawn before. It was physically hard for me to call the official and withdraw .?.?. Mentally, I was fried,” said Lewis, who withdrew after the first round in Edmonton, Alberta. “It was probably the best thing I could have done. People have already said, ‘Man, you look a lot better.’ I guess I should take that as a compliment.”

The Women’s British Open champion was exhausted after a draining and disappointing Solheim Cup in the United States’ blowout loss to Europe. In addition to her major victory Aug. 4 at St. Andrews, the Texan won consecutive early season events in Singapore and Phoenix.

Park withdrew Tuesday. The Korean star swept the first three majors of the year and has six victories this season. She has struggled in her last two events, tying for 42nd in the Women’s British Open and fading over the weekend in Canada en route to a tie for 13th.

“I’m disappointed I will be unable to play this week in Portland due to an illness,” Park said in a statement. “Safeway is such a great supporter of our tour, and I always look forward to playing in front of the crowds in Oregon.”

A 72-hole event for the first time, the tournament returns to Columbia Edgewater after four years at Pumpkin Ridge. The purse was slashed from $1.5 million last year to $1.3 million.

“A proper golf tournament is played at 72 holes,” said Suzann Pettersen, the 2011 champion.

Lewis said there’s less margin for error in a 54-hole tournament.

“Fifty-four holes feels like such a sprint,” Lewis said. “If you have a bad stretch of holes, you’re pretty much out of it.” AP
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