KLPGA ‘sensation’ Park Min-ji leads after second day of competition
A dominant force on the Korean Ladies Professional Golf Association (KLPGA) Tour for the past two years, Park Min-ji has continued her dominance this year with strong performances in the top money list, grand prize and most wins categories.
With two wins on the season, Park is fifth on the money list and fifth on the Order of Merit, but there is reason to believe.
There are three majors in the second half of the season with big prize pools on difficult courses, and Park has a history of performing well in majors.
Last year, he had outstanding results in three majors, including a runner-up finish at the Hanwha Classic in August, a win at the KB Financial Star Championship in September, and a victory at the Hite Jinro Champions in October, driving a wedge into the race for the money list and multiple wins.
Park shot a 2-under 70 in the second round of the KLPGA Tour’s third major of the season, the Hanwha Classic ($1.7 billion in prize money), at Jade Palace Golf Club (Par 72) in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province, on Friday.
After shooting back-to-back under-par scores on the challenging course after a 4-under 68 the day before, Minji Park returned home with a 6-under 138 total and a share of the lead.
Park, who led for the second straight day after tying for first the day before, will become the first player on the KLPGA Tour to win four trophies at different majors.
Ko Woo-soon, who holds the record for most major wins (seven), has only won two majors, while Shin Ji-ae, who has five majors, has also reached the top of the leaderboard in three majors.
Park, who had four birdies and two bogeys, said she had some frustrating situations where her putts were just off the mark or her tee shots were just off the fairway, but “I thought I had chances,” adding, “I’m grateful that I was able to finish under par again today, even though I didn’t have a great start.”
“There are two more days of competition, so I want to win, and fortunately, I finished the second round in a position to make a run at the title,” Park said.
Unlike most players, Park has always been open about her desire to win.
“When I won once a year, it was just a lucky win,” Park said, “but when I won six times last year and the year before, it was because I wanted to win.”
“If you don’t have the desire to win, how can you try to get more pins,” she said, adding, “I just want to remind myself not to be vague and impatient.”
Park also expressed her belief that it is better to alternate between first and last place than to make the cut in every tournament without winning.
“Missing the cut has a nice effect of keeping my ego in check,” said Park, who missed the cut six times last year after winning six times.
“As I focused on improving my weaknesses in preparation for this year, my shot accuracy within 100 meters, which I thought I was good at, dropped,” Park confessed, “but it’s getting better because I’ve been paying a lot of attention to it lately,” she said.
World No. 12 Ataya Thititjerin (THA), who shared the first-round lead at the Hanwha Classic, said she would like to play with him in the third round as they played together in the first and second rounds of the Hana Financial Singapore Open last December.
Jeon Ye-sung, who shot a 4-under 68, and Ahn Song-i, who dropped three strokes, are tied for second (5-under 139), one shot behind Park Min-ji.
After winning her first career title at the SK Telecom-ADT Caps Championship in 2019, her 237th career start, An Song-i recorded her second career victory at the Phantom Classic in 2020, the 33-year-old is challenging for a major championship.
Jeon has one previous victory at the EverCollagen Queen’s Crown in 2021.
Lee Da-yeon, the 2021 Hanwha Classic winner, shot a daily best of 5-under 67 to move into a tie for fourth place (3-under 141).
Lee, who won her first major of the season at the KLPGA Championship, has three of her seven wins at majors.
Im Jin-hee, who has two wins this season, last year’s grand prize winner Kim Soo-ji, and Shin Ji-eun, who plays on the U.S. Women’s Professional Golf (LPGA) Tour, are tied for fifth (2-under 142).
Ataya Thititjerin (Thailand), who was tied for the lead with Park Min-ji the day before, dropped three strokes to tie for 11th (1-under 143).
Defending champion Jiwon Hong dropped seven shots on the day and missed the cut at 8-over-par 152. 안전카지노사이트