Reigning U.S. Women’s Open champion Inbee Park became the first player on the LPGA Tour from Korea to win the coveted Rolex Player of the Year award when she wrapped up the season-long points race with a fourth-place finish last weekend at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico.
With only this week’s CME Titleholders tournament in Florida remaining on the LPGA Tour schedule, Park, who also won the 2008 U.S. Women’s Open, has 297 points, 39 more than second-place Suzann Pettersen, of Norway. American Stacy Lewis, the runner-up at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational to 2008 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion Lexi Thompson, stands third with 215 points.
The honor caps a remarkable season for the 25-year-old Park, who became only the second player in LPGA Tour history to win the first three major championships in a season and has held the top spot in the Rolex Rankings for the past 32 weeks. Park has won six events in 22 starts on Tour this year, two more than Pettersen – and all before July 1.
In June, Park posted a four-stroke victory over countrywoman I.K. Kim in the U.S. Women’s Open at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y. Park came into the championship having already won the Kraft Nabisco Championship and the Wegmans LPGA Championship. She joined Babe Didrikson Zaharias (1950) as the only players to win the first three majors of the season.
As an amateur, Park won the 2002 U.S. Girls’ Junior at the age of 14. She was runner-up in the championship in 2003 and again in 2005, the latter to Kim.
Material from the LPGA Tour was used in this article.