December 2, 2014 / 6:54 AM / 4 years ago

Slump made me stronger, says world number one Park

SEOUL (Reuters) - World number one Park In-bee believes a prolonged slump after her breakout year in 2008 has made her a stronger golfer.

Park In-bee of South Korea plays her tee shot at the 18th hole during third round play at the LPGA Safeway Classic in North Plains, Oregon August 19, 2012. REUTERS/Steve Dipaola

The South Korean, who married her swing coach earlier this year, also told Reuters that 2014 had been the most consistent season of her career, even though she won just one major.

Park was on a tear in 2013, winning three majors in a row and claiming six titles on the leading LPGA Tour.

“Of course, I had a great year last year, so this season’s three wins may seem a little less compared to that, but I am very happy with myself this year,” she told Reuters.

“The biggest accomplishment for me was that I consistently made it to the top 10 more than previous years and showed a more consistent performance.”

Park was a top 10 finisher in 17 of the 22 LPGA tournaments she entered in 2014, six more that the previous year, a consistency that has brought her near the $10 million mark in earnings on the tour.

Park burst on the scene in 2008 when at 19 she became the youngest player to win the U.S. Women’s Open, but she failed to build on that success.

Her next win on the U.S. tour took four more years to arrive though she found some success on the Japanese tour.

“I think everyone goes through that,” she said of her slump. “But I also think that I’ve been able to sustain this good run because I survived the difficult times.

“I rose, then fell to the very bottom, but got back on top again and I think that has made me stronger.”

Reporting by Minu Bak, Writing by Peter Rutherford; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly

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