Park holds off teammate in Western Am

Sunday, June 28, 1998

BY SARAH DOSE
The Cincinnati Enquirer

After 20 holes of golf in the 36-hole final of the Women's Western Golf Association National Amateur Saturday at Mason's Heritage Club, Grace Park went 4-up on her Arizona State teammate Kellee Booth.

But two holes later, when Park bogeyed No. 4, her first bogey, the momentum started to swing in the other direction.

If it wouldn't have been for a chipping error by Booth on No. 17 (the 35th hole), Park may not have won the tournament 1-up after each had a par on the 36th and final hole.

"Luckily, I was able to pull par on that one (at 17)," Park said.

Lucky because her tee shot on No. 17 veered to the left and into the rough far enough so when she hit her second shot with her 8-iron, she couldn't even see the pin.

But any doubts Park had went away after she bounced her shot right onto the green. She missed the birdie putt.

Booth, whose second shot on the same hole sat right next to the green, had what looked like an easy chip to get close to the hole. But she overshot and two-putted for a bogey 5, opening the door for Park, who sank her second putt on the hole from about eight feet. "I was just trying to get it close," Booth said of her bungled chip.

Park was 2-up after the first 18, and it looked like she would keep going on the second 18 after a birdie and a par on the first two holes.

But Park watched as her lead diminished. The lead see-sawed from No. 12 to No. 16.

That set the stage for the pivotal No. 17.

The matchup wasn't a first for the two ASU teammates; they had met four times before, most recently in last month's NCAA Tournament. Park finished third and Booth second.

Park, who just completed her fresman season at ASU, said Booth, a senior on the team last year, was a big help to her game.

"I've known her for six or seven years," Park said. "We've had a lot of fun playing together."

Park complimented Booth on her short game overall, saying her own had been suffering lately.

But her long game has had few, if any, problems. It's rare to see Park have a bad slice or hook -- that's why her poor tee shot on No. 17 Saturday was surprising. "My putting has been very bad all year,"

Park said. "It was up and down and then it went away. Then it came back for the tournament, but it wasn't great today, either. I made the putts I had to, I guess."

She was voted Rolex Collegiate Player of 1998, Booth was third. "Everything didn't come together at the same time," Park said of her year. "But here I played consistently. I shot under par every match except the final 18. I'm very pleased."



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