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Grace Park: Second to None in CJ Nine Bridges Classic

Posted October. 31, 2004 23:13,   


Park Ji-eun showed a haughty bearing with some beauty while crossing the last bridge of "Nine Bridges."

The main spotlight of the ceremony was taking soft steps going across the bridge to the green of the 18th hole (par 5), which is the course’s island hole, amidst a fervent round of applause from the gallery, and sinking a 1.5m birdie shot to wrap up the finale.

It was her season’s second victory within a span of seven months after taking the championship of Nabisco, shaking off six unfortunate runner-up positions from past competitions. The precious victory meant more as it appeared to break the jinx of clutching only one win per year, it was also her anticipated first homeland victory.

"Birdie Queen" Park Ji-eun (Nike Golf) won the LPGA tour CJ Nine Bridge Classic (total prize money: $1.35 million).

In the third round of the Nine Bridge (par 72) held at the Jeju Club on October 31, Park Ji-eun recorded a total of 16 under-par 200 by curtailing seven strokes with combinations of eight birdies and one bogie, and took the championship, leaving the world`s best, Sorenstam and Carin Koch (Sweden), behind with a five stroke gap. It was a new record which cut four more shots than last years record (12 under par, 204) made by Ahn Si-hyun (Kolon Elord).

Park made the third hole the turning point of the match. The rest of the players took drive shots and laid up with iron shots, which safely landed it front of the valley of forests, but Park picked a number three wood and hit with it over the valley to set the ball 50 to 60 meters from the hole. Park grabbed a wedge to set up a 1.5m birdie putt and kicked off her birdie march.

On the day, Park displayed sensational shot sense by setting putts within three meters of the perimeter 14 times, while making 18 rounds.

Park Ji-eun stepped up on the total prize money list from fourth to second place ($1,429,338) with the prize money of $202,500 and received a big hand at the award ceremony as she dressed up in a gorgeous Hanbok (Korean traditional grab) with a red jacket and a blue skirt instead of a green jacket.

Sang-Soo Kim ssoo@donga.com