Sticky patch halts Inbee Park's progress at British Open

 

St Andrews

A roller coaster is how Inbee Park described her day, a rapid climb to the top of the leader board followed by a steep descent and then a birdie to finish. There was a bit of everything as the Korean's quest for the Grand Slam began at the Ricoh Women's British Open here, not least a hint of frailty to balance the otherworldly stuff that saw her rampage into an early lead.

With her idiosyncratic swing, Park would not be a paradigm for your daughter off the tee, but you would gladly let her putt for your supper. She drained birdies from 40, 30 and twice from 20 feet on her outward nine to stand six under par after 10 holes. Was she trying to get this done in a day?

That is how it appeared before Park was spooked by a poor drive on 13, which unhinged her sufficiently to yield a three-putt and trigger an erratic run home.

More uncharacteristic three-putts at 16 and 17, albeit from some distance on expansive greens, were softened by a birdie at the last. It was, therefore, with a sense of relief that she signed for a three-under-par 69, happy to get the first day over and shed a little of the apprehension triggered by the historic quest for a fourth successive major.

"I was a little nervous this morning before I teed off," Park admitted. "But once the round started, especially playing so well in the first few holes, I gained a lot of confidence. I didn't feel much pressure but I'm glad I have got the first round under my belt. I knew what I was playing for. That made me a little more nervous but then I birdied the first so maybe I can play under pressure."

Park was in the fourth group out at three minutes after seven and wrapped from head to toe in Gore-Tex to protect against the miserable damp. At least the wind took a day off. The course was no match for her at that unspeakable hour, giving up three birdies in the opening four holes. Talk about an early alarm call for the rest of the field.

Funny how this game can locate the solar plexus when least expected. As they say in boxing, the punch that brings you down is the one you never saw coming. That blow was the tee shot pushed right at 13. It all got pretty ugly after that. "I was worried about the drive I hit and was thinking so much about my swing that I just lost concentration. I really just wanted to fix the swing. I couldn't concentrate on the greens," she admitted.

Nicole Castrale, one of four players to post the early clubhouse lead on five under par before Morgan Pressel and Camilla Lennarth went one better later on, cautioned against seeing too much into Park's late travails. "You know, she's human," Castrale said. "I don't know if you have been on the golf course but you don't need to have a meltdown to make a double-bogey [here]. You could hit a good tee shot and see it ricochet into a bunker and then you have no shot. I bet she's not thinking she had a meltdown. Three under any time at a major in the first round is a good start."

Stacey Lewis, the world No 2 to Park, also shot a 67 and was relieved to be two shots clear of her biggest rival. "It was funny, Karrie [Webb] and I were on the 10th green and saw a leader board for the first time," Lewis said. "I think Inbee was five under through eight and we just kind of looked at each other and shook our heads."

Woods in frame at Bridgestone International

Tiger Woods declared himself happy with his opening round at the Bridgestone International after he carded a four-under-par 66.

Webb Simpson shot a six-under-par 64 at Firestone Country Club to lead by one shot from Henrik Stenson, with Woods, Ryan Moore and England's Chris Wood a further stroke behind.

Woods said: "I missed a few putts but overall a pretty good day." Rory McIlroy recovered from a slow start but bogeyed the last to post a level-par round of 70.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own
Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England