Take a guess who is leading-
SYLVANIA, Ohio – Se Ri Pak isn’t sure why she plays so well at the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic. Everyone else in the field wonders what her secret is, too. The four-time tournament winner shot an 8-under 63 on Thursday to take the first-round lead. It was the best opening round in the tournament’s 23-year history.
Pak bogeyed her first hole, after hitting into the rough, then strung together three consecutive birdies. She ran off five birdies on the back nine, making a 25-putt on the 17th hole.
She is trying to tie Mickey Wright’s tour record of five victories in one event â€” matched twice by Annika Sorenstam â€” and knows the course better than any player in the tournament.
“Everyone asks why, I don’t know,” she said. “I always feel comfortable here.”
Pak won her first Farr title in 1998 when she was 20 and always seems to be in contention. She also won in 1999, 2001 and 2003.
Pak made a 15-foot putt on No. 11 and a 12-foot putt on the next hole to charge out in front. She then finished her round with a pair of birdies.
“I’ve won so many times and have so many great memories,” she said. “Maybe that’s why my game is a lot more solid on the golf course.”
Se Ri’s record at this tournament is incredible. In addition to her four wins, she was 2nd in 2004, fourth last year and in 2000 she missed a playoff by only one shot. I jokingly called this tournament the Se Ri Classic. Even tournament host Jamie Farr will say there is some justification for that. With the Korean golf queen off to a fast start on her favorite golf course, you almost want to tell the engraver to start working on the trophy.
Se Ri isn’t the only Pak on the leader board.
Rookie Jin Young Pak, playing in her first tournament since hurting her back two months ago, finished at 4 under.
“I’m just happy I can play,” she said.
The Korean with the same last name as the first-round leader said she knew about this tournament before she left home because of Se Ri Pak’s success.
Jin Young probably had Se Ri’s record in Toledo drummed into her head by her parents. A Pak and Pak finish on Sunday. To paraphrase Hawkeye on M*A*S*H, it would be a Pak lucky day.
Update- Se Ri shot 68 today to open up a five shot lead over Jin Young. The engraver might as well get started now.
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