Park One Cool Customer On The Golf Course
– Jane Park
might be making her third
championship-match appearance in a USGA amateur competition, but
don't expect her to be a bundle of nerves at the first tee on Sunday.
|Jane Park shows off some rare emotion during
her semifinal victory over Sarah Huarte on Saturday. (Steve
seems to faze the 17-year-old from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. Maybe
school, but anxiety is certainly not prevalent on the golf course,
where she's got that southern-California-cool persona. She just
dons those sunglasses, white bucket hat and tees it up like she's
competing with buddies at the local muni course.
I am, but I never show it,” said Park, a 2004 USA Curtis Cupper
and the 2003 Women's Amateur runner-up.
will try to win her first USGA title when she takes on 20-year-old
another player who plays without any intrepidation. McCurdy defeated
Park's Curtis Cup
6 and 4, while Park
outlasted another Curtis Cupper,
month, Park lost a 20-hole thriller to Julieta Granada of Paraguay
in the final of the U.S. Girls' Junior at Mira Vista Golf Club in
Fort Worth, Texas. Last August, she nearly became the fifth 16-year-old
to win the Women's Amateur, falling to another international player,
Virada Nirapathpongporn of Thailand, 2 and 1, at Philadelphia Country
Club in Gladwyne, Pa.
won't get a foreigner on Sunday, but McCurdy is quite foreign to
Park. She had never heard of the Arkansas
junior-to-be before this week
and has no knowledge of her game or talent.
think I have to play harder because I don't know what she's going
to do,” said Park.
“I don't know what her strengths are, what her weaknesses are, so
I think it's just going to take a couple of holes tomorrow morning
to see how she plays and if she's conservative or if she's aggressive.
I think if I play like I did today, or how I played when I beat
[in the second round] when
I shot six under for 14 holes that will be nice. But par is good.
I think par will come out on top tomorrow.”
has been saving her favorite
golf attire for the championship match. It's a name-brand designer
sleeveless navy-blue shirt that she hopes will bring her luck. Her
ensemble will also include her trademark white bucket hat, sunglasses
and her black golf shoes.
am wearing a very cut shirt tomorrow,” said a beaming Park.
interviewer informed Park
that her dad used to tell her that she shouldn't save any special
shirts because you never know if you'll be eliminated before you
get to wear them.
“I was confident.”
her father and her cousin, Jane
had three other visitors come
to Kahkwa to lend their support. Ed
who hosted the Parks at this year's U.S. Women's Open at The Orchards
Golf Club in South Hadley,
made the long trip from New
England to northwestern Pennsylvania
to see her play her semifinal
match. The couple also brought their 13-year-old granddaughter,
said they might have dinner
with them on Saturday night, eschewing their favorite eatery this
week, Golden Corral, a buffet-style restaurant not far from their
ate there again on Friday night and said the restaurant still hasn't
figured out how to cook steak.
|Sarah Huarte's ball-striking was pretty
solid all week, but her putter let the 2004 Curtis Cupper down
late in the semifinals against Jane Park. (Steve Gibbons/USGA)
Huarte owned a 2-up lead on her Curtis Cup teammate, Jane Park,
after 13 holes, but it all went downhill from there, especially
on the greens. She bogeyed the par-5 14th to lose the hole to Park's
five, and then three-putted the tricky par-3 16th from the front
of the green sending the match back to all square.
the downhill 16th hole, Huarte again three-putted from eight feet.
She then missed a short par putt at 17 to win the hole and on 18,
the 2004 NCAA Division I women's champion three-putted yet again
from 12 feet, missing a 5-foot come-backer for par before conceding
Park's short par putt.
finished with 33 putts over the 18 holes and shot the equivalent
of 5-over 41 on the back nine.
a streaky putter,” said Huarte, who also won the 2004 South Atlantic
Women's Amateur in Florida.
“Yesterday I putted really well. Today not so well. That's something
I need to work on.”
now heads back to northern California
to finish up course work so
she can graduate from California-Berkeley this December. She is
contemplating turning pro this fall and entering LPGA
although she could enter that event as an amateur.
been a great week,” said the 22-year-old Huarte. “Overall, I hit
the ball better throughout the week. [Friday] was probably my best
day (1-up win over Morgan Pressel).
I'll just go home and try to remember yesterday.”
Women's Committee of the USGA plans to have a conference call on
Monday night to discuss the three-member team that will be heading
to Puerto Rico
for the Women's World Amateur Team Championship in late October.
The Women's Amateur champion is virtually assured of a spot, which
means either Jane Park
will be on that squad.
who has had a solid summer, also is under heavy consideration along
with Huarte and 14-year-old sensation Michelle
The official announcement is expected sometime next week.
said Creamer of her wish to be selected. “Oh gosh yes [I want to
play]. That would be a huge event for me to play in, especially
in Puerto Rico
representing your country once again. There wouldn't be a bigger
honor than to do that.”
reaching the championship match, Jane
are exempt into the 2005 U.S.
Women's Open at Cherry Hills Country Club in Englewood,
(suburb of Denver), provided they remain an amateur. Park
has played in the past two
Women's Opens, making the cut in 2003 and missing this past year.
The winner also gets an exemption into the 2006 Women's Open at
Pine Needles in Southern Pines, N.C., provided she remains an amateur.
champion gets a 10-year exemption to the Women's Amateur, while
the runner-up receives a three-exemption. The winner also receives
a 10-year exemption into the Women's Amateur Public Links Championship,
with the runner-up receiving a two-year exemption into the WAPL.
In The House
USGA champions competed this week at the Women's Amateur, including
seven-time winner Carol Semple
(one Women's Amateur, two
Women's Mid-Amateurs and four Senior Women's Amateurs) and one more
showed up later in the week as part of the ESPN2 television broadcast
team. Kay Cockerill
won the Women's Amateur in
1986 and '87.
part of the team with play-by-play man Roger Twibell is Judy
the USGA's 2002 Bob Jones Award winner, and a participant in the
1971 U.S. Women's Open that was held at Kahkwa Club. The third analyst
is Dottie Pepper, a member of the 1986 USA Curtis Cup team and a
19-time participant in the Women's Open.
is a USGA staff writer.
E-mail him with questions or comments at email@example.com.