Inbee Park reclaims No. 1

Korea’s Inbee Park reclaimed the No. 1 spot in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings on Monday, jumping two spots after finishing in a tie for second place at the HUGEL-JTBC LA Open.

Park, 29, surpassed China’s Shanshan Feng, who held the top spot for 23 weeks, and Lexi Thompson. Park has earned the No. 1 spot for a record fourth time, and the first since Oct. 19-25, 2015. The span of two years, five months and 29 days between time at No. 1 is the longest in the history of the Rolex Rankings, passing Stacy Lewis (one year, one month, 19 days between April 24, 2013 and June 2, 2014).

Feng and Thompson each dropped one spot, with Korea’s So Yeon Ryu moving past countrywoman Sung Hyun Park for No. 5. Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn, Korea’s I.K. Kim, Cristie Kerr, Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist and Korea’s Hye Jin Choi round out the top 10. Jutanugarn’s sister, Moriya, jumped six spots to No. 11 with her first career LPGA Tour victory Sunday.

At 29 years, nine months and 11 days of age, Park is the oldest player to reach No. 1 since the Rolex Rankings were established in 2006, passing Kerr, who was 33 years and 13 days old when she claimed the top spot in 2010. Park will spend her 93rd week at No. 1, fourth all-time behind Lorena Ochoa (158), Yani Tseng (109) and Lydia Ko (104).

“It’s good to be back, obviously, in the No. 1 spot,” Park said in a statement. “That really wasn’t my goal playing this year; it just came as a present. So it’s great. But everything, all the rankings are so close together. It can change every week. It’s just hard to keep track. I’m just trying to play golf, and doesn’t matter where I am at. But if I can get back to the No. 1 spot, that’s good.”

Park suffered through an injury-shortened 2016 season while battling a thumb issue. And many questioned whether she would return to competitive golf after getting married. But Park, a native of Seoul who currently lives in Las Vegas, won the gold medal at the Olympics later that year and became the youngest player to qualify for the LPGA Hall of Fame at age 27.

Park took much of last year off, but has displayed strong form throughout the 2018 season. The seven-time major champion won the 2018 Bank of Hope Founders Cup for her 19th career LPGA Tour victory and finished second at the season’s first major, losing in an eight-hole playoff to Pernilla Lindberg at the ANA Inspiration. She has four top-10 finishes this year and leads the Race to the CME Globe.

–Field Level Media