Inbee Park burst onto the scene by winning the 2002 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship at the age of 14 at Echo Lake Country Club in Westfield, N.J. Her mellifluous swing and metronomic putting stroke combined with a harmonic demeanor created a perfect blend of physical gifts and mental fortitude.
She looked a star in the making then and she delivered on her promise, which will culminate with her impending induction into the LPGA Hall of Fame.
Park, whose first name translated into English means Queen Bee, successfully transitioned from junior phenom – she was a U.S. Girls’ Junior finalist in 2003 and 2005 and a U.S. Women’s Amateur semifinalist in 2003 – to the pinnacle of women’s professional golf. In mid-November, she became the third-youngest to achieve the necessary 27 points for enshrinement in the LPGA Hall of Fame. By her 10th start in 2016, Park, who turns 28 in July, will have met the 10-year LPGA Tour requirement for the Hall of Fame, and will be the youngest inductee.
Karrie Webb, the youngest (25) to achieve the 27-point total, didn’t meet the 10-year requirement until she turned 30, while Se Ri Pak, who inspired a generation of Koreans golfers, including Park, with her 1998 U.S. Women’s Open victory, was 29 when she reached the 10-year mandate.