Park In-bee: South Korea's unsmiling, silent assassin

Fri Jun 19, 2015 5:37am EDT
 
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By Peter Rutherford

SEOUL (Reuters) - Few golfers would describe Park In-bee's languid, truncated swing as "textbook", but after winning her sixth career major at the Women's PGA Championship on Sunday, the South Korean is no doubt content to have played her way into the record books.

While New Zealand teen Lydia Ko's stunning rise from amateur to world number one hogged the global golfing headlines over the last year, Park has quietly cemented her place as one of the game's all-time greats.

At 26, the Korean has now won five of the last 12 majors, her five-stroke victory on Sunday snatching back top spot in the rankings from Ko and taking her career earnings on the LPGA Tour to more than $11 million.

Her performance at the Westchester Country Club in the Women's PGA Championship, a tournament she has now won three times in a row, was vintage Park.

Without a bogey in her final 56 holes, she simply shunted the ball off the tee without ever breaking her metronomic tempo, stuck green after green from the fairway, and putted lights-out from near and far.

Her 19-under total tied the Tour record for the lowest score in relation to par at a major and she joined Annika Sorenstam and Patty Berg as the only players to have won the same major three times in a row.

While Park's swing lacks the graceful fluidity of compatriot Kim Hyo-joo, and she exhibits none of the punch of the powerful Pak Se-ri, experts at home pinpoint her stellar short game and bulletproof mental strength as the keys to her success.

"In-bee isn't flexible," says Jay Hahn, a golf specialist who worked with Park before she went to the famed David Leadbetter Academy.   Continued...

 
Jun 14, 2015; Harrison, NY, USA;   Inbee Park at the 11th during the final round of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship at Westchester Country Club - West. Few golfers would describe Park In-bee's languid, truncated swing as "textbook," but after winning her sixth career major at the Women's PGA Championship on June 14, 2015, the South Korean is no doubt content to have played her way into the record books. To match Feature GOLF-LPGA/PARK Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports/Files