November 25, 2013 10:19
Park In-bee received the LPGA's Rolex Player of the Year award at the Ritz Carlton Golf Resort in Naples, Florida on Friday. Dressed in a blue cocktail dress, she appeared at the awards ceremony to honor top players on the tour just hours after wrapping up the second round of the CME Group Titleholders, the final tournament of the season, at Tiburon Golf Course in the same city.
During her 10-minute acceptance speech she talked of her achievements and thanked her family and colleagues for all their support. Park won three consecutive majors this season and kept a firm grip on the women's world No. 1 ranking.
She said she kept on top of things by reminding herself to enjoy competing rather than becoming obsessed with winning tournaments. "As soon as happiness became my goal, I had my best season ever," she said.
Park expressed her gratitude to all the people who had helped her along the way this season. She also thanked Suzann Pettersen of Norway and Stacy Lewis of the U.S. -- saying that their healthy rivalry helped her produce her best performances.
Park struggled to hold back the tears when talking about how much support she had received from her fiance and swing coach, Nam Ki-hyeob. She said Nam had followed her to the U.S. two years ago and helped her rediscover her love for the game. They plan to marry in Korea next year.
Park returned to the CME Group Titleholders on Saturday, where she ended in 9th place with one round to go. She currently leads the LPGA Tour money list with US$2.39 million. If she beats No. 2 Pettersen ($2.28 million) and No. 3 Lewis (W1.89 million) at the season finale, Park will clinch the title of top earner for the second straight year.
Lewis has already technically clinched the Vare Trophy, an award given to the player with the lowest scoring average. If the American wins the tournament and pockets its prize money of $700,000, she will top the money list as well.
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