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Park Sung-hyun earns confidence for this season

Posted April. 03, 2018 07:33,   

Updated April. 03, 2018 07:33


South Korea’s Park Sung-hyun, who has been suffering from the “sophomore’s jinx,” has made it to the top 10 for the first time this season. Although it was not the first place, she seemed satisfied by the results. “I was able to recover my confidence,” Park said.

At the LPGA Tour ANA Inspiration golf tournament at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif., the first major tournament of the 2018 LPGA Tour season, the South Korean golfer posted a one-under par at the final round and finished in a four-way tie for ninth at 11-under 277.

Park had an amazing season last year, when she made her debut, by winning the Rolex Rookie of the Year, Rolex Player of the Year and the Official Money List. But she suffered an extreme slump early this season. She was tied for 22nd at her first tournament this season at Honda LPGA Thailand, ranked 24th at the HSBC Women’s Champions, finished 49th at the Back of Hope Founders Cup, and missed the cut for the first time since her debut at the Kia Classic last week.

Park managed to make strides at this tournament. She shot an eight-under par to share the lead at the second round. But she failed to claim her first victory of the season by losing five strokes at the end of the third round. Park was placed at third going into the last round with four strokes behind the leader. At the final round on Sunday, she got off to a good start by making a birdie putt on the first hole. But her chance of winning plummeted when she double bogied the seventh hole.

“I was able to build confidence through this game. Now that my shots and putts got a lot better, I think I can play with more confidence,” Park said. She will aim for her first victory of this season at the Lotte Championship at Ko Olina Golf Club in Kapolei, Hawaii on April 11-14.

Heon-Jae Lee uni@donga.com