ALBERTA

LPGA's Inbee Park set for Edmonton reboot after distant finish in British Open

08/20/2013 07:15 EDT | Updated 10/20/2013 05:12 EDT
EDMONTON - With the weight of history off her shoulders, LPGA leader Inbee Park says she's ready for a reboot at the CN Canadian Women's Open.

"I feel like I'm a lot more relaxed now. I experienced some big pressure in the British Open," Park told reporters after practice Tuesday at the Royal Mayfair Golf Club.

"I feel really good about this week. I'm hitting the ball great and I'm putting really good.

"I feel like I'm ready, and feel like all the pressure is off. I feel like I'm starting new now."

Two weeks ago, the spotlight was on the 25-year-old South Korean when she teed it up at the Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland, to try to become the first golfer to win four majors in a row in the same tournament year.

But in Scotland the woman famous for the softest hands on tour was gripping the club just a bit too tightly.

Park finished tied for 42nd, 14 strokes behind the winner, American Stacy Lewis, and admitted later the pressure wore on her.

"That week was big. It could have been great if I could've played a little bit better, but some weeks you don't play at your best," said Park.

"But I had a great experience there, and I think that experience will help me."

The British Open was an anomaly in what has been a season for the ages for Park.

She has won six tournaments and collected US$2,147,629 million in prize money.

She is No. 1 in player of the year points (281), No. 1 in putts per greens in regulation (1.726), and second to Lewis in scoring average (69.793).

Her forte is her putting. Park is known as a greens machine with a surgeon's eye for every nip and tuck of the putting surface.

She said balls on the greens at the Royal Mayfair are rolling true in practice, but said that doesn't mean short strokers won't be in for some cruel days.

"These greens are so quick that downhill putts you can overhit a little bit and it could go 15 feet past (the hole). I have been working a lot on the greens to get the speed right," she said.

She said the tricky winds whipping and twisting through the towering trees lining the holes at the riverside course will also be a factor.

But she the real nemesis will be hallway-narrow fairways fringed by tough roughs of Kentucky bluegrass that swallow up errant tee shots before spitting them back out as double bogeys.

"The fairways are just so narrow that when you're in the rough you can't go for anything here. You definitely have to be able to hit the fairway and attack the greens," she said.

A victory will see Park extend her healthy lead over No. 2 Lewis in the overall Rolex rankings.

Park said with the wins has come increased recognition.

Before, she could walk the streets of her hometown Seoul without being recognized, but not so now.

And not just older people who follow the game call her name.

"Now really young people recognize me," she said.

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