Go to contents

Putting of God: Just Putt, Then Holes

Posted August. 26, 2002 22:12,   


Who can match her amazing ability to concentrate?

It was impossible to put out the burning performance which was spreading like fire catching on a dried hey stack. Emperor of golf Tiger Woods, who has enabled a coinage of a new word “Woods-phobia,” would have got shocked if he had watched it.

The persistence of Park Sa-ri (25) was amazing as expected. She is famous for her calmness under harsh circumstances. But it stood out more this day. She entered into the final round with 3 strokes behind. But she appeared really confident.

She showed more strength and confidence round after round, even though she had considered giving up on the game due to a severe flu and did only 9 holes one day prior to the opening, half of what she usually practices. In the first day, she ranked 19th. But she rose up to 9th (2nd round) and to 3rd (3rd round). Actually, she has enjoyed bad conditions. Thus, she seemed unhindered by the bad physical conditions. Even her weakest point “putting,” along with driver shot and iron shot, worked well, giving more confidence to her.

But she seemed a little blinded by her desire for the championship. In the 4th round, she waved a little. She got off to a good start in the first hole with a birdie. But she recorded bogeys consecutively in the 2nd (par 4) and the 3rd hole (par 3), missing the green. It could have ruined the emotional calmness of a player if it had not been Park. Park has also always said, “You make a bogey. Then, you can catch up with much more birdies.”

She lost one stroke, but never got agitated. In the fifth hole (par 5), she got the eagle with her successful 4.5m chip shot into the cup. In addition, she cut down 3 stokes by two birdies in the sixth (par 3) and the eighth (par 4).

But the real value of Park could be appreciated with the game getting into the latter half. In the 12th hole (par 3), she made a birdie, ranking herself jointly with Stanford (US) on top. In the 13th (par 5), she got ahead of all the other players with a successful 1.8m birdie putting.

Once getting in the uprising mood, Park punctured a wonderful finale with the streak of birdies in the last 4 holes. Starting with a skillful workmanship of linking a 7m birdie to a putting, Park recorded birdies in the 16th (par 5) and 17th (par 4) hole. The 18th hole, which is said to be the easiest among the holes, was there for Park’s fans. Park could have made an albatross unless her second shot with No. 7 wood had barely missed the pole. With all the people on the gallery giving a standing ovation, Park stepped onto the green. Even though she missed the 1m downward eagle-putting, it could not turn the championship away from Park. By this she has won 6 out of US Tour’s 16 games by sprinting forward from far behind.

No other player could have even any chance to stop the solo race waged by Park. Kerry Webb (Australia), one of the female Big 3 pro golfers, could not do any other thing than watching Park’s super shots. Webb played the game in the group next preceding Park’s.

Jong-Seok Kim kjs0123@donga.com