Tuesday, August 09, 2022 | Muharram 10, 1444 H
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LPGA returns with 54-hole event, Park misses out


WASHINGTON: Seven of the world’s top-10 players will tee off in Friday’s first round of the LPGA’s Northwest Arkansas Championship, but reigning champion C won’t be among them.

The world number three from South Korea remains self-quarantined in her homeland due to the COVID-19 pandemic that halted the LPGA season until last month and disrupted the schedule.

“As the unexpected COVID-19 turned into a prolonged pandemic, it is certainly regrettable that I cannot attend games and show my support by participating,” Park said in a posting on the LPGA website.

“As an athlete though, I was grateful to have heard the news of peoples’ plans to continue the event despite the many hurdles that might arise.”

There will be no spectators for this week’s event at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas, and players will be tested as part of COVID-19 safety measures allowing the LPGA season to resume.

It’s the last tune-up for the year’s second major, the ANA Inspiration at Rancho Mirage, California, on September 10-13. The tour is back on US soil after Germany’s Sophia Popov won the year’s first major at the Women’s British Open last week.

Park captured her seventh career LPGA victory last year at Pinnacle, edging Kim Hyo-joo, Park In-bee and Danielle Kang by a stroke.

World number two Kang has already won twice this year, taking the Drive On Championship and Marathon Classic earlier this month in the tour’s return events after shutting down for 166 days following only four events.

Eighth-ranked Park In-bee had been in South Korea due to the pandemic until going to Scotland last week, where she finished fourth at Royal Troon.

“I was a little bit worried taking six months off,” she said. “Am I going to have my putting feel back? Yeah, there was a little bit of that worry. After playing in Scotland, it gave me definitely a little bit of confidence.”

The aftermath of Hurricane Laura was set to dump heavy rain on the area, setting up soft conditions for the event.

“I think greens are going to be soft and you’re going to have to hit into some pins really high and attack the pins,” Park In-bee said.

“I think this week will be you have to try to definitely go for birdies, whether it is rainy conditions or not.”


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