NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- Five of the six golfers to win on the LPGA Tour this season, including Koreans Se Ri Pak and Grace Park, are in action this week at the Asahi
Ryokuken International Championship.
Pak is the only two-time winner this year, while Park will look
to follow up her first win of the season when the tournament
gets underway Thursday at Mount Vintage Plantation Golf Club.
Sweden's Annika Sorenstam, who is atop the LPGA money list at
$554,500, is the only winner not entered this week. Sorenstam
will become the first woman to play a PGA Tour event in nearly
60 years when she competes in The Colonial later this month.
"I hope she wins," Park said about Sorenstam. "That would be
awesome. I think she'll do fine. She's, you know, regardless
of how she does, it's given our tour wonderful exposure and
attention and she has done a heck of a job for our tour
Pak and Park both can pass Sorenstam on the money list this
The 25-year-old Pak finished tied for eighth last week at the
Michelob Light Open and is playing here for the first time. Pak,
who is one of 14 Koreans entered this week, won her 20th career
title two weeks ago, when she parred the fourth hole of a
sudden-death playoff to defeat Australian Shani Waugh at the
Chick-fil-A Charity Championship.
"I had a lot of pressure at first because, well, the first two
to three years I didn't think any Korean players (could win) on
the LPGA Tour," Pak said. "There were only two players, me and
Pearl Sinn? And then afterward I was doing really great and
then every player was coming from my country. I was really
pressured the first two, three years, but not anymore."
Pak has earned $545,779 this year in seven events, two more than
The 24-year-old Park overcame a brutal start Sunday as she
converted a 20-foot par putt on the final hole to win the
Michelob Light Open by one stroke over Cristie Kerr, rookie
Lorena Ochoa and Karrie Webb. Park earned a career-best
$240,000 for the win and is just over 136,000 behind Pak for the
Although she was born in Seoul, Park grew up in the United
States and was a member of Arizona State's team that won the
national championship in 1998.
"I can be both. I can be Korean and American," Park said. "If
I'm tired of being Korean, I can just flip my switch and be
American and vice versa."
Kerr, who had bogeys at the 15th and 16th holes and missed a
birdie putt at the 18th that would have put her in a playoff, is
sixth on the money list at $255,932. Trying to become the
first American to win this year, Kerr also tied for second with
Sorenstam and Korean Soo-Yun Kang at the Takefuji Classic three
No American has won since August 18, when Meg Mallon got her
14th career victory at the Canadian Women's Open. Mallon is
17th on the money list this year.
Defending champion Janice Moodie of Scotland also is entered
this week. She was 3-over at the Michelob Light Open and
finished tied for 31st. Moodie has not finished better than
29th this year.
"I have actually been playing well, but I have not been scoring
well," Moodie said. "I think that was the whole thing that
happened last year too. I was playing well, but just not
scoring well. I keep working on my game, so hopefully I will
pull through one of these days."
The par-72 course measures 6,455 yards and first prize is