EDMONTON - Inbee Park confidently remarked earlier this week that she was relaxed and back in form after her mediocre showing at the Women's British Open
three weeks ago.
The World's top-ranked women's golfer certainly has demonstrated as much through two rounds of the 2013 CN Canadian Women's Open
at the Royal Mayfair Golf Club over the past two days.
The 25-year-old South Korean checked in with a second-round 65, in which she sunk a 20-yard bunker shot for birdie on the opening hole, to give her an eight-under total. Her 36-hole score is good for a share of the lead
with veteran Cristie Kerr of Miami.
Park has won six LPGA events this season, including the first three majors of the year. But her attempt to win a fourth Grand Slam tournament in a row resulted in a tie 42nd at St. Andrews after a slow start because of poor putting as well as the bad end of the draw in terms of weather in the first two rounds in Scotland.
"I feel like I'm a lot more relaxed now," Park said. "I experienced some big pressure in the British Open. Yeah, that week was big, and it could have been great if I could have played a little bit better, but some weeks you don't play your best.
"But I had a great experience there, so I think that experience will help me throughout this season and my career."
Chance at a 4th major for Park
Park still could win a fourth major in 2013 at the LPGA's newly designated fifth major, the Evian Championship in France, next month.
In the meantime, a win here would give Park her seventh win this season and the most on the LPGA tour since Lorena Ochoa notched eight victories in 2007, a year that included a win at the CN Canadian Women's Open the last time it was at Royal Mayfair.
Park burst onto the LPGA scene and won the U.S. Women's Open as a 19-year-old in 2008. But she clearly wasn't ready to become one of the game's primetime players back then. Last year, she turned her career around when she won her second and third career LPGA events and finished second six times.
"I had my bad times after the win in U.S. Open, and I wasn't experienced or I wasn't used to the Tour," Park said, now considered the best putter among her peers. "My game was just not ready yet. But over the time, I worked on everything a little bit, little bit by little bit, and it improved, I think, every year.
"Last year, I learned a lot from finishing second place a lot last year. I finished six times in second place or something like that. So after that kind of experience, this year when I'm in contention I feel a lot more comfortable and I have a lot more confidence to win."
This is not a good sign for her fellow competitors this weekend.
Ko still in contention
It would be neat if 16-year-old amateur Lydia Ko, who became the youngest LPGA event winner when she won this tournament
at the Vancouver Golf Club last year, can stay within reach of Park and duplicate their showdown last summer. She's at six-under after a second-round 69 on Friday.
Ko was unflappable in the last round a year ago, and wound up beating her professional opponent by three shots. But Park ended up cashing the $300,000 winner's cheque because of Ko's amateur status.
"Last year I had a good memory of the Canadian Open where I finished second but got a first-place cheque," Park said. "It would be nice if I could actually get the trophy and the first-place cheque this time. But yeah, I'll try my best this week and just see what happens."
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