Inbee Park chases history at US Women's Open

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 26, 2013 at 2:34 pm •  Published: June 26, 2013
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"When you don't know how to handle the pressure, it's not a good feeling at all," she said. "Your heart's pumping; you think all the negative things."

Working with a mental coach, she's learned how to empty her head of those thoughts. Away from the course, it's easy to relax.

Park's fiance travels with her on tour, and she has friendly rivalries with fellow players like defending U.S. Women's Open champion Na Yeon Choi.

After Park won the LPGA Championship earlier this month, the two South Koreans took some time off at Choi's home in Orlando. They made kimchee soup and Korean barbeque, played tennis and went bowling.

"I think she's really comfortable with her life right now," Choi said. "I think she's very happy. She never thinks negatively. Everything is thinking positively."

Park returned to competition to take another title at the NW Arkansas Championship last week. Mickey Wright in 1964 is the only player to win the U.S. Women's Open after victories in her previous two tournaments.

Choi's title last year started a streak of four straight major championships by South Koreans. An American hasn't won a major since Lewis at the 2011 Kraft Nabisco Championship, a drought of nine tournaments.

Two-time champ Juli Inkster, who turned 53 on Monday, will be playing on a special exemption in her 34th U.S. Women's Open, which breaks the record held by Marlene Hagge.

Tournament officials will keep a close eye on the weather report, with strong winds expected, to decide on pin placement. Sebonack may be new to golf majors, but the challenges from the local conditions are well known. When neighboring Shinnecock Hills hosted the 2004 U.S. Open won by Retief Goosen in the wind, nobody broke par in the final round.

"I think this course, par is your friend," said Yani Tseng, who has five major titles but has yet to win a U.S. Women's Open.

Park predicted a few three-putts, knowing players will need to stay patient and calm. She's been doing that better than anyone lately.

"I'm trying to enjoy where I am," Park said, "and trying to keep this going as long as I can."

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