Park In-bee hopes history repeats itself at AIG Women's Open
Park In-bee will look to repeat her past success at the AIG Women's Open, the final major of the 2021 LPGA season, starting Thursday at Carnoustie Golf Links in Scotland.
The Women's British Open was rebranded as the AIG Women's Open since last year. The British Open has been a major tournament on the LPGA Tour since 2001, with the Carnoustie Golf Links hosting the tournament for the second time this year, after 2011.
Park has written some history of her own on the course. Her first time at the British Open was in 2007, when she tied for 11th. In 2011, when the tournament moved to the Carnoustie Golf Links for the first time, she finished tied for seventh.
"I was really trying to remember how I did in 2011, and I knew that I had a good result," said Park. "But I played the course yesterday about 15 holes and I don't really remember the golf course except for that I had a sausage roll after No. 10."
In 2011, Park's second-round 64 was tied for the lowest round of the tournament and remains her lowest-career round at the AIG Women's Open, tied with the third round in 2017 at Kingsbarns. Park has said before that she enjoys playing on links courses in Scotland, Ireland and England. The courses, built on sand along a coastline, usually have deep firm bunkers and strong winds.
"We play in a lot of different conditions and obviously very tough conditions when we come to play Scotland golf courses," said Park.
"Obviously, you need to control your ball really well, under the wind, and you have to avoid a lot of the bunkers. It is always tough playing under the wind, but I somehow manage to enjoy the wind and links golf courses. This is what we're supposed to get playing links golf."
Park's British Open win came in 2015, when it was called the Ricoh Women's British Open, scoring 12-under, 276, at Ailsa Championship Course at Turnberry Golf Club, outscoring countrywoman Ko Jin-young by three strokes. It was her second major win of that year and the seventh of her career. Park hasn't been able to win a major tournament since then.
Before Park, Shin Ji-yae won the 2008 and 2012 British Open, Jang Jeong won in 2005 and Park Se-ri won in 2001, becoming the first Korean to win the tournament.
Kim Sei-young, Korea's only other two-time Olympian alongside Park, comes back from Tokyo and on to the Scottish course hoping to pick up her first win of the season.
Kim Sei-young's most recent victory was in 2020, at the Pelican Women's Championship in November, just a month after she won her first major that season at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship. The other two golfers who represented Korea at the Tokyo Games, Ko Jin-young and Kim Hyo-joo, are sitting out the AIG Women's Open.
A competitive field of golfers have gathered for the last major tournament of the season, including Tokyo gold medalist Nelly Korda of the United States, two-time Olympic medalist Lydia Ko of New Zealand and defending champion Sophia Popov of Germany. Park and Kim Sei-young will join 12 other Korean golfers — Amy Yang, Chun In-gee, Ryu So-yeon, Kim A-lim, Hur Mi-jung, Jenny Shin, Lee Mi-hyang, Chella Choi, Lee Jeong-eun, Park Sung-hyun, Ji Eun-hee and Kang Hae-ji — on the Scottish course.
Kim Sei-young will be teeing off at 12:05 p.m. with Popov and Jessica Korda of the United States. Park will be teeing off at 12:27 p.m. alongside Yealimi Noh of the United States and Leona Maguire of Ireland.
BY YUN SO-HYANG [firstname.lastname@example.org]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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