Inbee Park didn't win the HUGEL-JTBC L.A. Open on Sunday, coming up two strokes shy of Moriya Jutanugarn. But she did claim one nice consolation prize. The South Korean star's finish allowed her to take over the World No. 1 spot on the Rolex Rankings for the fourth time in her career.
Park replaced Shanshan Feng of China, who took over the No. 1 spot in November. Feng fell to No. 2, with Lexi Thompson going from No. 2 to No. 3.
Between 2013 and 2015, Park won seven majors. It was during that 2015 season that she held the title of World No. 1. Between then and now, however, the LPGA Hall of Famer’s career has been taking a different direction than she would’ve anticipated.
This will be her 93rd week as the top player in the world, but just two seasons ago, Park’s dominance on the LPGA was slowed significantly due to injuries. That season, she only played in 10 LPGA events, with problems with her thumb and back causing her to withdraw from three of those events. She took time off to rehab her thumb in order to be ready to compete in the 2016 Rio Olympics that August, a decision that turned out to be a smart one when she claimed the gold medal.
In 2017, Park was able to play a fuller schedule, competing in 15 events and winning once. Only six events into the 2018 season, she appears to be back to her pre-injury form. Park already has a win, two T-2 and two T-3 finishes. The victory, at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, was the 19th of her LPGA career.
Though few would call 29 "old," Park is the oldest World No. 1 since Cristie Kerr held the spot back in 2010.
“It's good to be back, obviously, in No. 1 spot. That really wasn't my goal playing this year; just came as present. So it's great,” said Park.