Tue, Jul 18, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Aggressive Park claims US Women’s Open title

Reuters, BEDMINSTER, New Jersey

South Korea’s Park Sung-hyun holds the trophy after winning the US Women’s Open in Bedminster, New Jersey, on Sunday.

Photo: AP

South Korean women’s golf domination on Sunday presented a new face in US Women’s Open winner Park Sung-hyun, whose long hitting and ultra-aggressive style set her apart from many compatriots.

The all-business Park plays with a poker-face intensity and crushes the ball with a flowing power swing that takes dead aim at her target.

She goes by the nickname Dak Gong, coined by South Korean fans that translates into “just shut your mouth and attack,” she said through an interpreter after starting the final round three back and winning her first major by two shots.

“[Compared] with a lot of [South] Korean female players, I guess I am more aggressive in my play,” 23-year-old Park said. “So fans gave me that nickname last year that I just focus on attack and aggressiveness, and I’m happy for it.”

LPGA Tour rookie Park finished with pair of five-under rounds of 67 to claim the US$900,000 first prize and finish what she started at last year’s US Women’s Open at CordeValle in California.

There she was the 36-hole leader, but posted 74-74 in the final two rounds and splashed in the water on the 72nd hole to end up third, two shots from a playoff.

“I think compared with last year, I could say that I played probably a little bit more relaxed,” Park said. “Based on that good experience that I had last year, I think I was able to garner the championship this year.”

Park’s triumph might have surprised some at the course owned by US President Donald Trump, but would have been no surprise to her fans back home.

She won seven times on the Korean LPGA Tour last year and this year is the runaway favorite to win LPGA Rookie of the Year.

Park’s ability to maintain her focus is a weapon that matches her obvious talent swinging the clubs.

“I think one of the most difficult things is to stay focused and keep that concentration level up because I know firsthand that once you lose it, your play is going to just go sideways,” she said.

Park paused only to give a wave and a bow to Trump on her way from the 18th to the scoring tent.

“I did have many wins in other tournaments, but winning here at the US Open means so much more, and for that I am grateful and extremely happy,” Park said.

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