Park Glad to Get First Round Completed


Although Inbee Park said she wasn't nervous during the round, the 25-year-old confessed she felt some butterflies before teeing off in the first round of the Women's British Open.

That she experienced some tenseness before play wasn't surprising. After all, the South Korean is seeking to become the first golfer - male or female - in history to win four professional majors in the same season.

With that in mind, her opening 3-under 69 on the Old Course at St. Andrews was a good initial outing in her quest for her fourth major title of the year and a remarkable seventh win overall in 2013. Park is three strokes off the pace set by American Morgan Pressel and Sweden's Camilla Lennarth, who each opened with 6-under 66s Thursday.

Helping Park out was a knowledgeable and supportive crowd, as would be expected at the "Home of Golf."

Helping Park out was a knowledgeable and supportive crowd, as would be expected at the "Home of Golf," a place infused with history and many milestone performances by golfers over the centuries.

"I felt like everybody was rooting for me, and that was such a nice feeling to have," Park told reporters later. "And especially when you're far away from your home and a lot of people are cheering for you and wishing you luck, that's really sweet."

Here's what else the top-ranked player in the women's game had to tell the media Thursday evening after her opening round in the Women's British Open.

MODERATOR: Good morning again, everyone. We have Inbee Park with us who has just completed a 3 under par 69 after a very early start this morning. How did you feel about the round this morning?

INBEE PARK: Felt like a roller coaster today. I played very good on the front nine and then I had a little bit shaky on the back nine. But I still feel really good about the game. I was 6 under through ten holes and that means I could do the same thing tomorrow. There was a couple of bad drives and a couple of bad putts on the back nine, but it's the first round, and could have been much better. A little bit disappointing, but I'm glad that I've done that in the first round instead of the first round instead of the final round. Yeah, I'm looking to improve the next three days.

Q. Are you feeling the pressure at all? Everyone's talking about you doing the Slam and all the rest of it, is that something you're becoming aware of and is it hindering your game at all?

INBEE PARK: Well, I was a little bit nervous this morning before I teed off. But then once the round started, and especially playing so good in the first few holes, that really gave me a lot of confidence. I didn't feel much pressure when I was playing during the round. I'm just glad that it is already started and I got the first round under my belt.

Q. Just curious did you feel more nervous before you teed off this morning than you did at Sebonack?

INBEE PARK: Yeah, I think so. Yeah, because I know what I was playing four. I made a little more nervous, but I made a birdie on the first hole, so maybe I can play under the pressure.

Q. Two questions I wanted to ask about the back nine, your pace on the putting was so beautiful for ten holes and it suffered a little bit on the back. What happened there?

INBEE PARK: I think I didn't get a to putt a long putt until the first 3 putt. I didn't really get to putt 25 yards before that hole, and that was my first one putt, and the greens were a lot slower than I thought. Just missed it on the speed, and the same thing on the next hole. I thought I hit it hard and it just didn't go.

Q. And secondly, you had a couple of drives that you lost to the right. I'm curious, when you got to 16, with the road all the way down the right side, were you planning to be that far left or were you being protective?

INBEE PARK: I was always going to go to the left side there, and that was my strategy going into this week. Yeah, I was never aiming right. That was, you know, some place that I was actually going for. That was a target I went for.

Q. You were not super happy with how you were driving the ball the two tournaments coming into this, but did you feel you like you had worked that out? Were you a little surprised on the back nine?

INBEE PARK: Yeah, I thought I was almost - that I fixed all my problems coming into this week, especially until yesterday, I was hitting it so good on the practice round and then I didn't really miss any balls. Yeah, I thought I was really prepared and that I was really ready, but those couple of bad shots really shocked me, and I really wanted to fix them right away, and couldn't really concentrate on the greens when I hit those shots. Yeah, I've learned my lesson. Good thing I've got my time to fix that today and tomorrow.

Q. You were very badly bunkered at the 16th, very nastily bunkered, was that the only way to get out sideways, left out of the bunker? Was that the only way to get out?

INBEE PARK: Well, I could have gone right, and maybe I could have tried to go at the pin, but it was a little bit half and half, so I didn't really want to take the risk. I was actually going for a bogey, and the left side was the best play for me, yeah.

Q. How close was -

INBEE PARK: I think it was about two feet.

Q. One more question about that bunker shot. Your short game has been so fabulous; was it almost, did you have to talk yourself out of trying to go for the pin?

INBEE PARK: Yeah, I mean, I actually was really confident that I could go over the lip, but my caddie said, I think that's really high, and when you doubt yourself, you can't get out of these bunkers. So once doubt gets into your mind, I wasn't trying for that.

Q. Did you get a sense that the crowd were pulling for you out there, given what you're on the cusp of?

INBEE PARK: Who was?

Q. The crowd, the spectators.

MODERATOR: Did you get a sense they were pulling for you, the crowd.

INBEE PARK: Yeah, I felt like everybody was rooting for me, and that was such a nice feeling to have. And especially when you're far away from your home and a lot of people are cheering for you and wishing you luck, that's really sweet.

Q. You holed some really long putts, a couple of 30 footers on the front nine. When you made that par save on the 12th, did you have any feeling at all that you weren't going to miss today?

INBEE PARK: Yeah, I mean, that putt was big, and I thought I wouldn't make anymore bogeys if I'm putting like this. But still a little bit worried about the drive that I hit, and yeah, I was just trying to, I was just concentrating so much on my swing that I couldn't - I really lost my concentration in the middle of the round there through 13 to like the 16th, 17th hole. I really just wanted to fix the swing. I couldn't concentrate on the greens.

MODERATOR: Probably a good time to go through the birdies and bogeys.

INBEE PARK: The first hole, I hit a 9 iron to about 15 feet. I'd better go backwards No.18, I hit a gap wedge to eight feet. No. 10, I hit a sand wedge to about five feet. No. 8, 8 iron to about 15 feet. No. 6, I can't really remember No. 6.

MODERATOR: The one with the blind drive?

INBEE PARK: All the front nines are blind drives. (Laughter). No. 4 I remember. It was a rescue to about 15, 18 feet.

MODERATOR: Could we also go over the bogeys?

INBEE PARK: No.17, I hit a 7 iron short, about 20 yards short, and 3 putted from there. 16, I was in the bunker with 7 iron and I hit it to the left side, which is about 30 yards from the hole and 3 putted from there. No. 13, I hit my drive to the right, and the second shot, I hit 6, a rescue - I hit a rescue to the left rough. I hit the shot and hit the chip and it was about 20 feet and missed that.

Q. I just wondered about your thoughts on an early start.

INBEE PARK: Early start? I want to start early every day here. That's the calmest time of the day and didn't real play with the wind this morning. It was a little bit rainy, and it looks like this afternoon is actually really nice. Hopefully we get that tomorrow.

Q. Is there part of you that's relieved that this first round is over? There's been so much talk about what you could do, and now you're actually into the tournament.

INBEE PARK: Yeah, whether the result is good or bad, I'm just glad that it already started and I finished the first round, 25 per cent of the tournament. You know, if I could walk out of this tournament with no regrets, that's what I'm looking to do and yeah that's all I could ask for. I played and I learned my lesson - I wouldn't say it's a regret, a couple of mistakes but that can always happen. I tried hard, that's all that matters.

Q. Any idea the last time you had back to back 3 putts?

INBEE PARK: It's tough to remember when was the last time. These greens here are so big, you could have 40 , 50 yard putts, it could happen. You have to be prepared for 3 putts here. You are always going to have 3 putts here.

MODERATOR: Thank you very much.

The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.


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