Thursday, 9 June 2016
An ailing Park In-Bee hopes to show she belongs in the hall-of-fame, while red-hot Ariya Jutanugarn is aiming for a record-tying fourth straight win at this week’s Women’s PGA Championship.
South Korea’s Park will officially qualify for the LPGA Hall of Fame if she completes the first round of the golf major championship on Thursday in Seattle, Washington.
“I just can’t believe I’ve done what I’ve done over the past 10 years. I feel truly honoured,” said world number two Park.
One of the criteria for active LPGA players to qualify for its hall of fame is they have to play at least 10 years on the Tour.
World number two Park arrived at the Sahalee Country Club course as the three-time reigning champion of the event, representing three of her seven career major victories.
Park is also suffering from a nagging thumb injury. She posted opening-round scores of 74 and 84 in her last two tournaments.
She says the thumb feels better than it has in recent weeks and she intends to play as many holes as possible.
“I know it’s hard to believe in myself, but one thing that I have been trying to do is build my confidence,” Park said on Wednesday. “I’m not going to die because of the thumb pain.
“Being able to get inducted into the Hall of Fame after tomorrow, no matter how many times I measure myself, it still feels surreal.”
A more serious threat to win the title on Sunday is Thailand’s Ariya, who has been the hottest player on the Tour having won her last three starts. Those wins marked the first three victories of her career and vaulted her to No. 10 in the world rankings.
Ariya is aiming to tie Nancy Lopez’s record of four consecutive victories. Ariya, of Bangkok, knows it will be a tough challenge.
“The golf course is so hard for me,” Ariya said. “But a great golf course, in great shape, and the greens are so good.
“There are a lot of trees and big trees. I have to shave my shot a lot.”
Another favourite is 19-year-old Lydia Ko, who has spent the past 33 weeks atop the rankings and has collected two major titles during that time. She expects a “deserving” champion to be crowned on the weekend.
“You need to be creative here,” said the Kiwi. “It’s going to be tough.”
Source by: AFP