U.S. Women’s Open champ Park Sung-hyun soars to No. 5 in world golf rankings

July 17, 2017

SEOUL, July 17 (Yonhap) — Thanks to her first LPGA major title at the U.S. Women’s Open, South Korean Park Sung-hyun soared to No. 5 in the latest women’s world rankings announced Monday.

Park shot an 11-under 277 to win the oldest women’s major championship by two strokes on Sunday (local time) in New Jersey. The 23-year-old shot back-to-back rounds of 67s over the weekend to get past South Korean amateur Choi Hye-jin.

It was Park’s first LPGA win and her maiden major.

The victory catapulted her to a career-high No. 5 in the world, up six spots from a week ago. She’d slipped from No. 10 to No. 11 last week, but re-entered the top 10 with an exclamation point.

Park is one of five South Koreans inside the top 10. Ryu So-yeon remained at No. 1 for the fourth consecutive week, followed by Park, Chun In-gee (No. 6), Amy Yang (No. 9) and Park In-bee (No. 10).

Park Sung-hyun is also in the driver’s seat for the Rookie of the Year honors.

Park earned 300 points to move to 997 points in the race, with Angel Yin of the United States a distant second with 359 points.

Rookies are awarded 150 points for tour victories, 80 points for runner-up finishes and 75 points for third place, and so forth. Points are doubled at the five major tournaments.

In this Associated Press photo, Park Sung-hyun of South Korea holds up the winner's trophy after capturing the U.S. Women's Open at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, on July 16, 2017. (Yonhap)In this Associated Press photo, Park Sung-hyun of South Korea holds up the winner’s trophy after capturing the U.S. Women’s Open at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, on July 16, 2017. (Yonhap)

Yin missed the cut at the U.S. Women’s Open and didn’t get any points, and now faces an uphill climb with 15 tournaments remaining.

If Park stays in front, she will become the 11th South Korean to capture the LPGA Tour’s top rookie award. Kim Sei-young and Chun In-gee won the rookie points races in each of the past two seasons.

Of the 10 past South Korean winners, only Pak Se-ri (1998) claimed the U.S. Women’s Open as a rookie.

Park also has a chance to win the Player of the Year. She is now in third place with 95 points, with fellow South Korean Ryu So-yeon leading the way at 150 points, followed by Lexi Thompson with 105 points.

Players earn 30 points for each victory, followed by 12 points for finishing second and nine points for ending in third. Points are doubled at major championships.

Park also earned US$900,000 in the winner’s share, the largest on the tour this year, and jumped from 13th to second on this season’s money list with a little over $1.45 million.

Ryu leads all players with about $1.7 million.

Park is tied for second with Thompson in the scoring average with 69.120 strokes per round, as Ryu remained the leader at 69.102 strokes on average per 18 holes.

Park is an LPGA rookie this year but appeared in seven LPGA events last year as a non-member. She posted four top-10 finishes, three of them at majors, and earned about $682,000. It would have placed her in 22nd place on the 2016 money list had she been a full member.

Non-members can obtain full LPGA membership by either winning a tournament or making enough money to rank inside the top 40 at the given season’s end. Park is the first Korean player to earn her LPGA privileges in that particular route.

Last year, she dominated the Korea LPGA Tour by winning seven tournaments and setting the single-season earnings record with a little over 1.3 billion won (US$1.2 million).

jeeho@yna.co.kr

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