St. Andrews, Scotland • Inbee Park wasn’t just chasing history at St. Andrews. She was sprinting toward it.
All it took were three loose tee shots, a pair of three-putts and one double bogey on the back nine Thursday in the Women’s British Open to remind her that winning an unprecedented four straight majors in one year is not going to be easy.
Park ran off six birdies in 10 holes to race to the top of the leaderboard, only to stumble coming back in for a 3-under 69 that left her two shots out of the lead.
"Felt like a roller coaster today," Park said.
Stacy Lewis, the former No. 1 who would love to be a spoiler at St. Andrews, hit her stride on the back nine with a 31 that gave her a 67 and a share of the lead midway through the opening round with Na Yeon Choi, Nicole Castrale and Mi-Jeong Jeon.
Paula Creamer played bogey-free for a 68.
"Once the round started, and especially playing so good the first few holes, that really gave me a lot of confidence," Park said. "I didn’t feel much pressure during the round. I’m just glad that it is already started and I got the first round under my belt."
The conditions were perfect for scoring on the Old Course, with light rain falling from a lead gray sky and barely any wind. Some of the biggest names in women’s golf, including Park, Lewis and Creamer, teed off in front of the Royal & Ancient clubhouse with no more than a few dozen fans in tow.
Park already has won three majors this year. No golfer, male or female, has ever won four in one year. The 25-year-old South Korean said she was more nervous than usual before getting to the first tee, perhaps because of all the chatter about a Grand Slam.
It sure didn’t show.
Park opened with a wedge into about 7 feet for birdie, and then she really poured it on with an amazing display of her putting stroke. She rolled in a 30-foot birdie putt on No. 3 with perfect pace. She hit a hybrid the perfect distance on No. 4, giving her a flat line between ridges for an 18-foot birdie putt. She made a 35-foot birdie putt on No. 6, another birdie just inside 20 feet on No. 8 and a sixth birdie on No. 10 after a wedge that stopped 5 feet from the hole.Next Page >
Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.