Park Inbee falls from No. 1 in women’s golf rankings

June 2, 2014

(Yonhap) — South Korean LPGA Tour star Park Inbee will fall from the No. 1 spot in the women’s world golf rankings after more than a year on top.

Stacy Lewis of the United States cruised to her second win of the season at the ShopRite LPGA Classic in Galloway, New Jersey, on Sunday, and she will move up from No. 2 to No. 1 when the newest rankings are announced later in the day, ending Park’s 59-week reign at the top of women’s golf.

Lewis shot a three-round total of 16-under at the tournament for a six-shot victory over fellow American Christina Kim. Park shot a 7-under to finish in a five-way tie for eighth place.

Park hasn’t captured an LPGA title since June last year, and her No. 1 ranking had been under siege for weeks.

Still, Park took the drop in the rankings in stride.

“It is a little bit of a relief not to have the big heavy crown on my head,” Park said. “It’s not the end of the world.”

Entering the ShopRite LPGA Classic, Park held a slim lead over Lewis — 9.58 points to 9.36 points.

Lewis could have claimed the No. 1 ranking by finishing in sole possession of third place or higher the previous weekend at the Airbus LPGA Classic in Mobile, Alabama. Park missed the cut at the same tournament. Lewis had been in third by herself after three rounds but ended up in a tie for 10th place.

Park first rose to No. 1 on April 15 last year, displacing Lewis, who had been No. 1 for the four previous weeks.

Lewis said she knows she earned back her top ranking with hard work.

“It feels great. I feel like I’ve played a lot of good, consistent golf over the last year,” she said. “I felt like I deserve to be here. I didn’t feel like I stumbled into it. I just really felt like I worked hard and I earned my spot here, and so that’s what I’m proud of.”

Lewis also said she will try to “enjoy” her second trip to the No. 1 spot.

“Last time it was taken away from me, (it was) in an off-week when we weren’t even playing,” she said. “So I’m definitely just going to not take it for granted and really enjoy it this time. Now I know all the extra things that come along with it, but I’m ready for it this time.”

Park captured six tournaments, including three majors, in 2013, but has yet to find the winner’s circle on the LPGA Tour in 2014.

Park won an event on the Ladies European Tour in March.

In the world rankings, players earn points from tournaments over a rolling 104-week period, and points are weighted more heavily over the most recent 13 weeks.

So far in 2014, Lewis has posted 10 top-10 finishes in 12 starts, including two victories. She leads the tour in money, scoring average and the points race for the season-end Player of the Year award.

Park has six top-10s in nine starts this year.