Park ponders run to top at last major tuneup
South Korea's Inbee Park returns to the event where she began her march to world No 1 at this week's $1.5 million ShopRite Classic in Galloway, New Jersey, the last tuneup for next week's LPGA Championship.
Park's lone LPGA title when she arrived at the 54-hole event last year had come at the 2008 US Women's Open. She had gone a year without managing a top-10 finish but found her putting form at the layout near Atlantic City, New Jersey.
"Last year at this point, I had never finished Top-10 in the last year and I already have three wins this year," Park said.
"After this week (in 2012) I started putting really good, the ball-striking got better. I think that putting has been really a big key to my success in the last year after this point."
Park settled for a share of 18th at last year's ShopRite but shared ninth at the 2012 LPGA Championship and began to turn around her season, winning last July in France and last October in Malaysia.
This year, Park has captured the LPGA Thailand in February, last month's North Texas LPGA Shootout and the year's first major crown at the Kraft Nabisco Championship on April 7; she leads in the LPGA Player of the Year race.
With the next major championship only a week away, Park is hoping to bounce back from a rain-soaked struggle last week in the Bahamas, where only 36 holes were completed, and prepare for a bid at her third different major LPGA crown.
"I've been having a really lot of success this year and it sure feels like longer than one year," Park said. "Everything just happened really quick. I've been playing really good."
A field of 144, including the world's 10 top women golfers, will play for a $225 000 top prize with American Stacy Lewis hoping to defend her title.
South Korean Lee Il-Hee won last week in the Bahamas for her first LPGA triumph, a good sign for the women's tour, Park said.
"It's really good for the tour when you have a lot of different winners," Park said. "It's good to have everybody actually have success and everybody is competitive enough to win every week and we are not just playing against five people.
"That's very good competition for everybody and I think that really makes everybody play better every week and give motivation to each other."