LANCASTER (Pennsylvania) • World No. 1 Park In Bee is usually seen as the player to beat in women's golf Majors these days, and now she has extra motivation at this week's US Women's Open.
The South Korean, who has won five of the last dozen majors with no other rival notching more than one in that span, is coming off a missed cut and a poor putting week - two rarities for the golfer.
The 26-year-old gets a chance to redeem her reputation, starting today at the Lancaster Country Club in the year's third major.
"I putted really bad two weeks ago, and that definitely gave me somewhat like a wake-up call," Park said. "I had a bad week and that definitely made me practise harder and gave me a lot more motivation coming into this week."
Not exactly comforting to the rest of the 156-player field that includes defending champion Michelle Wie and other former winners such as Choi Na Yeon (2012), Ryu So Yeon (2011), Paula Creamer (2010) and Cristie Kerr (2007).
Motivation combined with skill and confidence has been a winning formula for Park, who this season reclaimed the No. 1 ranking from 18-year-old Kiwi Lydia Ko.
"When I come to major championships, I work extra hard," said Park, who has six Majors among her 15 LPGA titles. "I like the atmosphere. I like the little bit extra pressure when we start the game. Obviously, having good results helps. That gives me a lot of confidence."
Known as one of the tour's top putters, Park said the sloping greens at Lancaster could well decide the championship.
"I played here five weeks ago, it was really dry then and now it's wet," she said about the long, hilly layout. "I feel like I'm playing two different golf courses.
More rain is forecast but the tournament days look to be hot and dry, which could firm things up.
"The greens are going to be really the key this week. The breaks are huge on the greens," said Park, whose 2008 US Women's Open victory made her the youngest winner of the championship at 19.
"Even if it's a short putt, you have to aim it a cup to two outside."
The US Women's Open was embroiled in a spot of controversy yesterday, after the caddie of world No. 10 Kim Sei Young was booted from the tournament. He was found in the USGA rules office improperly taking photos of course set-up documents, officials said.
Veteran caddie Paul Fusco was escorted off the property by USGA security at Lancaster Country Club and will not be allowed to assist the South Korean this week.
"He was in a USGA office taking photos of internal USGA course set- up documents and was discovered by a USGA official," tournament spokesman Christina Lance said.
"It was information that is not available to all players until the day of the tournament."
Fusco was reportedly asked to delete the pictures from his phone and he did so in front of the official.
US WOMEN'S OPEN
Day 1: Singtel TV Ch115 & StarHub Ch209, tomorrow, 2am