By Gavin Menu
With fog and wind rolling off the Great Peconic Bay and the slopes and undulations at the Sebonack Golf Club growing more grueling with each passing day, Inbee Park remained steady to the finish and shot an eight-under par total to win the 2013 United States Women’s Open Championship.
With the win, the world’s top-ranked female golfer made history in Southampton on Sunday with her third straight major championship—a feat last accomplished in 1950 by Babe Zaharias—after already having won this year’s Kraft Nabisco Championship and the LPGA Championship.
Park will now have a shot at immortality as she attempts to become the first golfer ever—man or woman—to complete a professional “grand slam” and win four majors in the same season when she heads to the St. Andrews Golf Club in Scotland for the British Women’s Open in August.
“I just hope this is not a dream,” Park said following Sunday’s victory. “I don’t want to wake up tomorrow and play the final round again.”
Sebonack held up nicely against the world’s best women’s golfers, with just three players finishing under par for the tournament, including second-place finisher, I.K. Kim, who posted a four-under 284, and So Yeon Ryu, who finished at 1-under.
The top American finisher was Paula Creamer, who tied for fourth at 1-over for the championship.
“The golf course was playing tough out there,” Park said. “I tried to stay calm, and I think I did.”
Long Island native Annie Park, an amateur who became the first female in history to win the Nassau County boys golf championship as a senior at MacArthur High School last year, failed to make the cut after finishing with a 10-over par through two rounds.
Hosting its first major tournament in just its seventh year in existence, Sebonack proved to be a real test for the tournament field. The course played at 6,658 yards in the final round, with greens reading a lofty 11.10 on the Stimpmeter, a device that measures speed on the greens.
Weather was a factor all week with intense heat that hardened the course early in the week followed by strong winds off the bay over the weekend. Heavy fog suspended play on Friday and 41 golfers were forced to finish their second rounds on Saturday morning.
But still, at the end of a long and difficult week, and with the possibility of a monumental—and pressure packed—accomplishment lying ahead at St. Andrews next month, Park summed up her success at Sebonack in the simplest of terms.
“I think it’s because I feel the happiest when I’m at the golf course,” she said. “And I feel calm when I’m on the golf course. I think I’m just a much better person when I’m on the golf course.”