SHE may have failed to become the game’s first player to win four consecutive majors in the same season and walked off the Old Course feeling drained but Inbee Park ticked lots of other boxes in her week in the St Andrews spotlight.
It didn’t go according to plan for the 25-year-old Korean, who, after charging to the top of the leaderboard through ten holes on Thursday, finished just inside the top 50 following closing rounds of 74 and 78, the latter including 40 putts.
Park’s no prima donna, though, and the world No 1 can hold her head high as she heads home for a two-week break before turning her focus on the Evian Masters in France, where victory would still see her go into the record books as the only player to win majors in one year. “I might not have won this week, but I’ve learned a lot and know I’ve still got a lot of room to improve,” said Park, who’d arrived in the Auld Grey Toun with the Kraft Nabisco, LPGA Championship and US Women’s Open titles already in the bag. “I’m glad that the tournament is over after going through four rounds under such pressure. I’ve done something amazing this season by winning three in a row and I don’t even know if I can do that again. It might take a long time for that record to be beat.
“And, unless I win four majors in a row, I’ll always remember this moment. It’s something I’ve never experienced before and, though it’s tough to be the centre of everything and I feel exhausted, it’s been a great experience. I’ve never had this many people rooting for me That has been the favourite part.”
Eight off the pace at the halfway stage, Park had been disappointed to see play suspended on Saturday after covering the first four holes in the wind in one-under. Her hopes of a last-round mircale quickly disappeared when she four-putted the first for a double-bogey 6. “Mother Nature has to be on your side in the British Open. It didn’t happen for me this year - but I have a lot of more years to go.”