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Birdie Parade Atop Mt. Halla

Posted October. 29, 2004 23:15,   


Effects of a hole-in-one?

Park Ji-eun (Nike Golf), who made her first hole in one at the Pro-am, came back playing a magnificent round against Sweden’s Annika Sorenstam.

Amidst thousands of fans at the first round of the U.S. Women’s Professional Golf (LPGA) tour’s CJ Nine Bridges Classic (total prizes of $1.35 million) opened on October 29 at the Jeju Club Nine Bridge (par 72).

During a previous tournament, Park Ji-eun was leading the Samsung World Championships for four days and then had an unfortunate reversal of fortune, losing to Sorenstam during the last round. Out of her 66 strokes during today’s round, Park Ji-eun had seven birdies and one bogey to finish the round at 6-under-par to lead the tournament with Sweden’s Carin Coch.

On the other hand, despite her typical magnificent accuracy on the green, Sorenstam was not able to adjust to the course’s fastidious greens and finished the day’s round with four birdies and three bogeys, and stands at 1-under-par 71.

As soon as the tournament started, Park Ji-eun placed a nicely put second shot just one and a half meters from the pin at the first hole (par 4, 381 yards) to record her first birdie of the day. After a drive of 203 yards at the 18th hole (par 5, 495 yards), Park succeeded in placing the ball in two turns and reluctantly missed a chance for an eagle, but easily made a birdie to finish the tournament with a birdie at both the start and the finish.

During an interview, Park said as she smiled, “My putting today was at its best. I think I made almost all of my birdie chances. Sorenstam’s putting wasn’t that good today, and I think it was because she wasn’t used to the green. She’s human, too, you know.”

Defending champion Ahn Shi-hyun, who is in the same group with Park Se-ri and Sorenstam, finished fifth after today’s round at 4-under-par 68 (one eagle, four birdies, and one double bogey).

Despite the double bogey she made after her tee shot fell in a bunker at the second hole (par 3, 170 yards), Ahn Shi-hyun continued the round with a birdie parade, finishing the round with an eagle on the last hole of the day (par 5).

Last year, Kim Joo-mi (High Mart), who last year held the most in prize money and wins, finished today’s game tied in fifth place (4-under-par) playing the best out of the “domestic contestants.” The “peanut,” Kim Mi-hyun (KTF) finished ninth (3-under-par), while Park Se-ri (CJ) and Han Hee-won (Fila Korea) both finished the day in 32nd place (even par).

Lorena Ochoa (Mexico), who is considered the second best in this year’s LPGA tour just behind Sorenstam, fired a hole-in-one at the 13th hole (par 3, 153 yards). She finished tied in fifth place at 4-under-par.

The scores during today’s round were strong perhaps in part due to the sunny weather and very mild wind.

Sang-Soo Kim ssoo@donga.com