SINGAPORE (AFP) ― Park In-bee admitted she was resigned to the prospect of losing the world’s top ranking with Suzann Pettersen breathing down her neck at this week’s HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore.
|Korea’s Park In-bee (Penta-Yonhap)|
The South Korean starlet swept three major titles in 2013 and she made a fast start to her season last week in Thailand, carding six-under 66 on Sunday to finish second.
But Park, 25, said she expected a shift in the rankings with Norway’s Pettersen capable of catching her this week, and defending champion Stacy Lewis not far behind in third.
“It’s actually really tough to win every tournament,” said Park, who made a delayed start to the year and missed the first two events in the Bahamas and Australia.
“It’s only my second week back this year and I think rankings points-wise there’s not much gap between one to three.
“So obviously there are going to be some changes this year,” she said Tuesday.
At last year’s edition in Singapore, Yani Tseng was a woman under pressure as she struggled to extend her two-year stay as world No. 1.
America’s Lewis won a thrilling tournament by just one shot and went on to supplant the young Taiwanese at the top of the rankings just weeks later.
Park, however, appeared relaxed about her 46-week stint at the top and said she was more focused on her overall performance this year.
“My goal would be maybe to maintain the No. 1 spot at the end of the year but during the year, whoever has a good first week I think could change the rankings,” she said.
“I think I’ll try to enjoy the week and try to enjoy while I’m here.”
Her standpoint is directly opposed to second-ranked Pettersen, a veteran at 32, who is highly motivated to be crowned the world’s best player for the first time in her career.