Long-hitter Park's time to shine on Korean Tour

Fri Oct 14, 2016 3:03am EDT
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By Peter Rutherford

INCHEON, South Korea (Reuters) - Park Sung-hyun has a small tattoo on her left wrist, the Latin word "lucete" -- "shine". The South Korean golfer endured the needles during the dark days of her career, a reminder that no matter how bad things got she had the talent to succeed.

After a 2016 season that has included seven wins on the domestic KLPGA Tour, top 10 finishes at three global majors, $1 million in prize money and a jump to number eight in the world rankings, it appears there will be no need for further ink.

Regarded at home as a potential successor to Park In-bee as the next Korean world number one, Sung-hyun's game could hardly be more different to that of the Olympic champion.

While In-bee has racked up 17 U.S. LPGA Tour wins on the back of rock-solid iron play and impeccable putting, Sung-hyun batters the ball a mile off the tee, leaving her in prime position to attack pins with a wedge or short iron.

When the two Parks squared off in a matchplay event last year, it was Sung-hyun who came out on top, thrashing the seven-times major champion 5&3.

Despite standing only 1.70 meters tall, the willowy Park is a match for the power hitters on the LPGA Tour such as Lexi Thompson and Brittany Lincicome.

Thompson, defending champion at the LPGA/KLPGA co-sanctioned KEB Hana Bank Championship, has been impressed by the Korean, particularly her length with the 'big stick'.

"I've played with her quite a few times ... and her game is unbelievable. Very long off the tee, has a nice high ball flight, stops it basically from everywhere that you put her," she told a news conference. "No weaknesses."   Continued...