Tue, Jul 17, 2007 - Page 19 News List

Classic win propels Pak into elite club of female golfers

AFP, SYLVANIA, Ohio

Pak Se-ri hits a tee shot during the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic in Sylvania, Ohio, on Sunday.

Photo: AFP

South Korean Hall of Famer Pak Se-ri joined another exclusive club on Sunday with her victory in the US$1.3 million Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic.

Pak posted a four-under 67 for a three-stroke victory, becoming just the third player - along with Mickey Wright and Annika Sorenstam - to win the same LPGA event five times.

At 17-under 267, Pak finished three shots ahead of Morgan Pressel, who finished at 270 after a 68 that included a hole-in-one at the par-three sixth hole.

"It wasn't an easy day for me today," said Pak, who had back to back bogeys at four and five but responded to that - and Pressel's hole-in-one - with birdies at six, eight and nine. "She is just good," Pak said of the 19-year-old Pressel. "Just after she made the ace, it made me say, 'Hey, you better work really hard, otherwise the game is over.'"

"I had a great couple of shots, [that] made me think I was still [in with a chance]," she said.

Pak regained the lead for good with a birdie at 15, and also birdied 17. She led by one heading to 18, where Pressel pulled her drive left into the gallery which led to a bogey. Pak split the fairway with a three-wood and birdied the hole to clinch the win and claim the first prize of US$195,000.

"I knew Morgan had trouble, but you never know," Pak said of her thoughts at 18, where she knocked a sand wedge within a foot of the pin. "I knew I still had to finish [well]."

"I didn't mean it to be that close, but the gallery liked it," she said.

Pak was thrilled to add another big accomplishment to her 2007 season, in which she has completed the requirements for the Hall of Fame.

"First, winning is always great," she said. "Second, if one [win] makes history, I think that's pretty special. I'm very grateful. It's a very special year, to be in the Hall of Fame and I won the the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic again. [Being the] third woman to win ... the same event [five times], that's pretty good."

"It's really [been a] lovely week for me - perfect for me," she said.

Pressel, who was troubled by a foot ailment that had her visiting the doctor on Thursday, came on strong at the weekend to challenge Pak and was pleased with her week overall.

While she was delighted with her ace - with a seven-iron from 148 yards - she acknowledged that it served to galvanize Pak.

"Obviously, I had a great shot," she said. "Se Ri made a great birdie there to only lose one shot. My grandpa said it kind of woke her up. She was firing right at it after that, and I couldn't quite make them. I had quite a few that were left just on the edge."

When Pak took the lead at 15, Pressel said, she just tried to focus on making birdies.

"I needed birdies, especially with two par-fives to close. I figured she would birdie at least one of them, if not both, like she did," Pressel said.

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