Golf

Published: Wednesday February 26, 2014 MYT 4:29:00 PM
Updated: Wednesday February 26, 2014 MYT 4:31:22 PM

In-bee prepared to lose top ranking to Pettersen

Park In-bee: ' My goal would be maybe to maintain the number one spot at the end of the year but during the year, whoever has a good first week I think could change the rankings.' – AFP Photo

Park In-bee: ' My goal would be maybe to maintain the number one spot at the end of the year but during the year, whoever has a good first week I think could change the rankings.' – AFP Photo

SINGAPORE: Park In-bee admitted she was resigned to the prospect of losing the world number one ranking with Suzann Pettersen breathing down her neck at this week’s HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore.

The South Korean starlet swept three Major titles in 2013 and she made a fast start to her season last week in Thailand, carding six-under 66 on Sunday to finish second.

But In-bee, 25, said she expected a shift in the rankings with Norway’s Pettersen capable of catching her this week, and defending champion Stacy Lewis not far behind in third.

“It’s actually really tough to win every tournament,” said In-bee, who made a delayed start to the year and missed the first two events in the Bahamas and Australia.

“It’s only my second week back this year and I think rankings points-wise there’s not much gap between one to three. So obviously there are going to be some changes this year,” she said on Tuesday.

At last year’s edition in Singapore, Tseng Yani was a woman under pressure as she struggled to extend her two-year stay as world number one.

America’s Lewis won a thrilling tournament by just one shot and went on to supplant the young Taiwanese at the top of the rankings just weeks later.

In-bee, however, appeared relaxed about her 46-week stint at the top and said she was more focused on her overall performance this year.

“My goal would be maybe to maintain the number one spot at the end of the year but during the year, whoever has a good first week I think could change the rankings,” she said.

“I think I’ll try to enjoy the week and try to enjoy while I’m here.”

Her standpoint is directly opposed to second-ranked Pettersen, a veteran at 32 who is highly motivated to be crowned the world’s best player for the first time in her career.

According to the LPGA projection, to go to the top Pettersen needs to win at par-72 Sentosa Golf Club and hope that In-bee doesn’t finish better than tied for third with two players.

“I think I can be good enough to be the best in the world, otherwise I don’t think I would have kept playing. So that’s my motivation every day,” Pettersen said on Tuesday.

“I think the eternal drive of trying to get better every day is what gets you up in the morning, what gets you through the tough days, the good days.”

She added: “It’s obviously a dream of mine to become the best female golfer in the world, I’m not going to hide that. But at the same time, I just want to see how good I can be.”

The US$1.4mil (RM4.5mil) tournament has drawn nearly all of the world’s 60 highest ranked players, including 19 of the top 20.

Other players to watch include New Zealand’s world number four Lydia Ko, 16, who is seeking her first Tour win since turning professional in October. — AFP

Tags / Keywords: golf, Park In-bee, Women’s Champions, Suzann Pettersen

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