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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee