June 25, 2013 11:17
One of the female golfers who took up the sport after being inspired by Pak Se-ri is about to surpass her childhood idol. World No.1 Park In-bee claimed her fifth win of the season on the LPGA Tour, tying the record held by Pak for the most number of wins in one season by a Korean golfer.
In-bee finished the Wal-Mart LPGA NW Arkansas Championship with 12-under 201, hitting five birdies and one bogey in the third and final round at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers on Monday.
So far, 14 competitions have taken place in this season's LPGA Tour, of which seven were won by Korean golfers. In-bee currently has 221 points in the race for the Player of the Year award, way ahead of runner-up Stacy Lewis of the U.S., with 92 points. This puts Park on course to become the first Korean player to win the prestigious award.
She has maintained the world's top rank for 11 consecutive weeks with two successive major victories after she also triumphed at the Wegmans LPGA Championship. By adding US$300,000 to her pot, she is also leading the money race with $1,521,827.
With 14 tournaments to go this season, it would seem like just a matter of time before Park, who started playing the sport after watching her idol on TV, surpasses Pak's achievement by wrapping up win No. 6.
Veteran golfer Pak picked up two major titles in one season by winning the McDonald LPGA Championship and the U.S. Women's Open in 1998 -- an unprecedented feat among Korean golfers. The younger Park followed suit this season by nailing the Kraft Nabisco Championship in April and the Wegmans Championship in June.
If she goes on to win the U.S. Women's Open, which opens on Thursday, she will become the first golfer in 63 years since Babe Zaharias of the U.S. to win three consecutive majors.
"The thrill is getting bigger and bigger as I add trophies one by one," she said after her latest win.
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