Jane Park shot an opening round -6 under 66 at The KIA Classic on Thursday and has a one stroke lead over World and LPGA Hall of Famer Karrie Webb, and European Solheim Cup team member, Caroline Hedwall. The 26 year old Park had it going at the Aviara Golf Club at Carlsbad(near San Diego, California), having her best round of golf in tournament play since the 2009 Evian Masters. Jane Park was born in Chicago, but grew up in Southern California, and went to college at UCLA.
“The weather was fantastic today like it always is in San Diego and just wanted to take advantage of that and the fresh greens this morning, and fortunately I made a ton of putts today,” said Park.
Park went bogey free on Thursday, and put a string of three birdies together starting at the fourth hole. She turned pro in 2006, and this was one of her best days as a pro.
“I love playing golf here,” said Park, who resides in Rancho Cucamonga about an hour north of Carlsbad. “Obviously I’m from here, but yeah, the golf courses here just really fit my eye. I love the ‑‑ I just love this style of golf course, so maybe that’s why I played pretty well today.”
Jane Park has had trouble translating the success she had as an Amateur to the professional game. The tour grind, and injuries has short-circuited what should have been a nice LPGA career. Her best year on tour was her first, where she finished 25th on the money list.
She began playing golf at age 12, and at age 16, reached the finals of the US Women’s Amateur where she lost to Virada Nirapathpongporn. The following year, she made it to the finals of the US Girls Junior Championship, and lost in a playoff to Julieta Granada on the second hole. Three weeks later, she won the US Women’s Amateur Championship, defeating Amanda McCurdy 2 up in the title match.
Park played on the US Curtis Cup Team in 2004, and 2006. She was an All-American at UCLA, and tied for 10th at The US Women’s Open, and was tied for the low amateur. She has never won as a professional. She is currently 298th in Rolex rankings, Her best year was 2008, where she made 22 of 26 cuts, and had two runner up finishes.
“I think my preparation in the off season was much better this off season than it has been in the past,” said Park. “My career’s been riddled with injuries and different things here and there, but I prepared really well and I was pretty confident coming into this week.”
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