Girl’s Junior Champion Qualifies For Match Play

Scarborough, N.Y. -- Fourteen-year-old In-Bee Park of Eustis, Fla., the 2002 Girl’s Junior champion, advanced to match play at the Women’s Amateur Championship at Sleepy Hollow Country Club.

Park shot an impressive combined score of 143, finishing the first two rounds of stroke play at 1 over par. Park will have her work cut out for her in her first match. That’s because she’ll face 2000 Girls’ Junior champ Lisa Ferrero, 19, of Lodi, Calif. Ferrero is the more experienced player, having made it to the round of 16 at last year’s Women’s Amateur.

Park began play with an opening round 73, closing the day at 2 over par and placing her in striking distance of the day’s leaders. On Tuesday, Park’s consistent play carried her, as she registered three birdies, 14 pars and no bogeys through 17 holes. Hole 18, notorious among this week’s competitors for its difficulty as a par 4, provided Park with her first real challenge. Park drove into the right rough before failing to reach the green on her second through the trees. She double bogeyed the hole.

“I had a very good round today,” said Park. “Everything was perfect until the 18th hole. I had no bogeys before the 18th. I was a little upset after that."

Overall, however, Park’s nerves remained calm throughout the two rounds, despite the pressures of coming off a win at Echo Lake.

“I wasn’t nervous or feeling any pressure,” said Park. “This is the Amateur and I am very young, still just a junior. Probably tomorrow I will be more nervous. Match play makes me more nervous.”

In winning the Girl’s Junior recently, Park became the championship’s second-youngest winner. Aree Wongluekiet won in 1999 when she was just 13.

A native of Korea, Park’s family moved to the United States when she was 13 years old so she could pursue her goals in golf. Park’s parents thought there were better opportunities for their daughter in the United States, both for golf and education. She’s been out-driving her opponents ever since.

“I’m very honored to make the cut. I am happy,” said Park.

Her mother added: “This is a very good experience for her. There are a lot of great players here.”

Story written by Liz Britt, USGA. Britt is a first-year Fellow at the USGA. E-mail her with questions or comments at ebritt@usga.org.

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