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(LEAD) Park In-bee ready to start fresh after disappointing Women's British Open
INCHEON, Aug. 6 (Yonhap) -- After coming up short in winning her fourth straight LPGA major last weekend, South Korean star Park In-bee said Tuesday she is ready to put the disappointment behind her.

   Park arrived home on Tuesday to rest after competing at the Ricoh Women's British Open at the Old Course in St Andrews, Scotland. She was seeking to become the first golfer, male or female, to win four consecutive professional majors in the same season, but she finished tied for 42nd at 6-over par, 14 shots behind the champion, Stacy Lewis of the United States.

   At Incheon International Airport, Park, the world's No. 1-ranked female golfer, said she was relieved to be done with the event.

   "It was disappointing, but I learned a lot from the tournament," the 25-year-old said. "I will now start fresh."

   Park won the first three majors of 2013 -- the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the Wegmans LPGA Championship and the U.S. Women's Open -- and played under an enormous amount of scrutiny in Scotland.

   More so than dealing with pressure off the field, Park said her inability to adjust to the greens at St Andrews was ultimately her undoing.

  


"On a course like that, you need to figure out the greens, but I was distracted by strong winds and other factors," she said. "But I think I can play better in similar situations in the future."

   Having failed to complete her single-season grand slam, Park said she will keep her sight on the one feat that she's long wanted to accomplish: winning the Player of the Year honors.

   She leads the points race with 281. Lewis, the 2012 Player of the Year, is in second at 161. No South Korean player has won the honors. Park was second behind Lewis last year.

   "Lewis has closed the gap," Park noted. "And I really want to win the Player of the Year race."

   Golfers are awarded points for top-10 finishes, and points are doubled for their performances at major championships and the season-ending CME Group Titleholders. A victory is worth 30 points at regular tour events. Park has won six times, including three majors, while Lewis has won three events, including one major.

   Park can still win her fourth major in 2013. The Evian Championship, set for Sept. 12 to 15 in France, has been upgraded to a major tournament starting this year. Park won the event last year when it was called the Evian Masters.

   The event is more than a month away, and Park said she's not looking that far down the road yet.

   "I want to relax and spend some time with my family," said Park, who will be home until Aug. 18.

   Also on Tuesday, the two South Koreans that tied for second at the Women's British Open, Choi Na-yeon and Park Hee-young, returned home.

   Choi blew a three-shot lead with six holes to play in the final round, falling apart with bogeys on the 13th, 14th and 17th holes.

   Choi, the 2012 U.S. Women's Open champion, said her final round collapse was tough to swallow, but she was looking forward to playing better the rest of the season.

   "We still have one more major and other tournaments left this season," Choi said. "I lost a battle with myself this time. I will try to correct that for the final major of the season."

   Choi said she has been inspired by Park, a close friend of hers.

   "I am sure other Korean golfers are also motivated by In-bee," Choi said. "We're good friends off the field, but once we're on the course, we compete against each other."

   Park Hee-young, still seeking her first major title, enjoyed the best finish of her career at a major by tying Choi for second place. Park fell out of contention early with three straight bogeys, starting on the 12th hole, before making her final birdie of the tournament on the 16th.

   She said learning to compete in windy conditions was more valuable to her than finishing as a runner-up.

   "When the wind blew and conditions became tough (in the past), I would often lose my balance and never recover," said Park, who won the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic in July for her second career LPGA win. "My putting would be affected the most. I will keep working on (trying to play in bad weather) for the Evian Championship."

   jeeho@yna.co.kr
(END)
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