She may not win often on the LPGA Tour, but Korean golf star Park Inbee certainly knows which tournaments to win. Let’s take a look at the career and then in the bag of Evian Masters latest winner, who last won an LPGA Tournament at the 2008 US Open!
Park began playing golf in her native Seoul at the age of 10 but moved to the United States at a young age to develop her career. She won nine times on the American Junior Golf Association Circuit, as well as being a semi finalist in the 2003 Women’s Amateur.
Park continue her amateur career until 2006, playing in the Kraft Nabisco Championship and the LPGA Takefuji Classic on sponsor invites. She qualified for the LPGA tour by finishing 3rd on the Futures Tour end of season money list.
Additionally in 2007, she anglicised the spelling of her South Korean name In-Bee, to Inbee. That year she tied fourth in the US Open and second at the Safeway Classic and finished 37th on the money list.
In 2008 Park recorded her biggest win, when claiming the 2008 Women’s Open aged just 19, she beat Helen Alfredsson by four strokes at Interlachen Country Club in Edina, Minnesota.
After that breakout win however Park struggled for form, recording only four top 1o finishes in 2009 but she bounced back in 2010, finishing in the top 10 in all four majors and winning twice on the LPGA Japanese Tour.
Her consistent play continued in 2011 and 2012, indeed in the two years she has only missed two cuts. Winning however has proved elusive until last weekend at the Evian Masters where she closed out a two-shot victory over Karrie Webb and Stacy Lewis by recording 3 birdies on the final three holes.
Whoever coined the phrase “driving for show, putting for dough” may well have said that very epithet to describe Park Inbee’s style of play. While not a massively long hitter from the tee (she ranks 51st on the women’s tour) where Park does excel is on the greens.
In fact, it was her putting on the greens over the last nine holes in particular that saw her win the Evian Masters. She ranks 1st in the LPGA Tour in both putting average per round (28.1) and putts per greens in regulation (1.72).
Ally that to a solid game from the hazards, the fact that she is one of the best scorers on the tour (6th on 70.64) and that she ranks 8th in rounds under par and 4th in birdies scored, and you have the perfect ingredients for a very strong all round performer.
On the LPGA tour in her career she has amassed over $3.9m in earnings and has 30 top-ten finishes.
Indeed, the only criticism that could possibly be levelled at Park, is that given her consistency and proficiency on the greens, she has not converted enough of those top ten finishes into wins.
In the bag: Park Inbee
Driver: Srixon XXIO7
Fairway Wood: Taylor Made RBX 3-Wood w/Your AD (14.5 degree)
Hybrids: TaylorMade Rescue 11 (16 degree) and TaylorMade Rescue TP-FCT (22 degree)
Irons (5 to PW): Srixon XXIO Forged
Wedges: Cleveland TA 588 TZG (47, 51 and 57 degrees)
Putter: Odyssey White Ice Sabretooth
Ball: Srixon Z-Star
Images from Evian Masters 2012