It’s hard to argue that anyone is playing better golf on the LPGA Tour right now than Inbee Park.
The first-round leader of the Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship maintained a share of the lead after 36 holes of play, shooting a 3-under 69 in Friday’s second round.
Even when it appeared that Park might be in line for a rough day, as she was 1-over-par through her first five holes, she managed to get hot once again. Park birdied four straight holes to close out her front nine and then hung in on the back nine, following up a bogey on 17 with a birdie on the 18th. It continued what has been a remarkable few months for Park, who has shot in the 60s in 24 of her last 39 rounds on the LPGA Tour.
“At the first birdie, I made a putt, I think about a 15‑footer, and I wasn't really comfortable with the putter after missing two short putts early in the round, so I just needed that one putt to fall, and that fell and just gave me a lot of confidence after that,” Park said of getting her round going on Friday. “And then I hit a couple shots close after that. So four birdies in a row was the highlight of the day today.”
With this tremendous stretch of play, Park has been making a run at many of the LPGA’s season-ending honors. Park currently is the leading money winner on the 2012 LPGA Money List with $1,979,926 in season earnings. She’s also closing in on Rolex Rankings No. 2 Stacy Lewis in the Rolex Player of the Year race. Lewis currently leads Park by 40 points, although The Woodlands, Texas native, who is trying to become the first American to win the honor since Beth Daniel in 1994, is not in the field this week. A win here in Taiwan would give Park another 30 points in the race and put her very close to the lead.
“I mean if I end up getting Player of the Year, I think that's the first time as a Korean,” Park said. “I mean looking at all the Korean players playing, I thought there would have been ‑‑ somebody would have gotten that, but nobody got it, so I was really surprised with the result. If I would be the first one, it would be a really great honor and it would be a gift for me.”