Kristen Park’s final round 67, tied the course record and vaulted her to a 5 shot victory in the prestigious Ping Invitational that was contested at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Ok. Kristen’s shot 74-70-67 (211) -5 on the difficult Karsten Creek course that is rated 79.1 (course difficulty) with a slope of 149 for women at 6306 yards.
On the first day Kristen shot 74. The 74 consisted of a 35-39 that included 5 birdies 5 bogies and a double on 16. Her second round 70 (35-35) included 6 birdies, 2 bogies and another double on 16. In the third and final round, a determined Kristen Park started her round with a bogie on her first hole (#10). She quickly turned it around with birdies on 11, 12, 14 and 16 for a 33. Kristen was determined to play the 16th the way SHE NEW she could. The birdie on 16 was sweet redemption. She played her back nine in 34 with 2 birdies and 7 par’s.
The Ping Invitational is a Major event sponsored by the AJGA that includes the top ranked 24 girls in the nation to battle it out at Karsten Creek Golf Club (home of Oklahoma State University). Kristen went into the event ranked #3 in the nation (#1 graduating class 2011). Kristen finished 14 shots ahead of Victoria Tanco (#1 ranked) and 7 shots ahead of Yueer Cindy Feng (#2). Kristen has said, “this is an event that I have always wanted to win.”
After a mediocre 2009 season, Kristen told her coach George Pinnell that she was going to re-commit herself to working harder in the off season and prepare better for 2010. Pinnell arranged for Kristen to meet with Callaway Golf at the Performance Center where she was fitted for new club’s. Kristen, according to Pinnell, “was not sold on Callaway in the beginning,” but after testing them for several week’s she discovered that she was longer and the ball flight was higher with her X-22 Tour iron’s. She found an additional 20-25 yards with her new driver.
Kristen has won 3 time’s in 2010, the Under Armour/Hunter Mahan Championship, the Rolex Tournament of Champion’s and the Ping Invitational. The Rolex and The Ping are Major’s in Junior Golf. Kristen played on the winning US 2010 Ryder Cup and Canon Cup team’s and played in the Duke of York Young Champions Trophy event played at the site of the 2011 British Open, Royal St. George.
According to Pinnell, “Kristen has a bright future ahead of her. She is very smart and she has her priorities in correct order.” Kristen will graduate from Sunny Hill’s High School in the spring and then attend college and play collegiate golf. Her mother, father, grandfather and late grandmother is Kristen’s source of strength and inspiration. Kristen’s mother travel’s with her and serve’s not only as “mom” but as her confidant during the rigorous trial’s and tribulation’s of junior golf at the “elite” level. A great team indeed. A great champion, Kristen Park.