Inbee Park is three shots off the lead after the first round of the Women’s British Open, where the South Korean is trying to become the only golfer to win four major professional championships in the same calendar year.
Morgan Pressel of the U.S. and Camilla Lennarth of Sweden share the lead at 6 under par, one shot better than seven players including Americans Stacy Lewis, Nicole Castrale, Sydnee Michaels and Ryann O’Toole. South Koreans Mi-Jeong Jeon, Na Yeon Choi and Eun-Hee Ji are also 5 under entering today’s second round on the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland.
Park, who is tied for 17th place, has a chance to become the first golfer to win four professional major championships in a calendar year after securing her second U.S. Women’s Open title last month. She also won the LPGA Championship in June and the Kraft Nabisco Championship in April. The LPGA is adding the Evian Masters in September as a fifth major this year.
“Because I know what I was playing for, I was a little more nervous,” Park, 25, told reporters. “But then once the round started, and especially playing so good in the first few holes, that really gave me a lot of confidence.”
Park birdied six of the first 10 holes, getting to 6 under before making bogeys at the 13th and 17th holes around her second double-bogey in a major at the par-4 16th. She missed the fairway to the right with her tee shots on all three holes.
“Those couple of bad shots really shocked me and I really wanted to fix them right away,” said Park, who rebounded with a birdie at the closing hole for a 69, matching her best opening-round score in seven Women’s British Open appearances.
Babe Zaharias was the last woman to win the first three majors in a season in 1950, five years before a fourth Grand Slam tournament was added. Pat Bradley in 1986 was the last woman to win three major titles in a year.
Tiger Woods held all four men’s major titles at the same time by winning the U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship in 2000 and adding the Masters Tournament the following year. Bobby Jones is the only golfer to win four majors in one calendar year, taking the U.S. and British opens and U.S. and British amateur championships in 1930.
Pressel, 25, had seven birdies and a bogey in a first-round 66 after having missed the weekend cut in her last visit to St. Andrews in 2007, when she had rounds of 80 and 76.
“The last time I played here I was pretty down on links golf and wasn’t really looking forward to coming back to the British Open,” Pressel said. “But since then I have gotten better at managing my game and hitting shots.”
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