Volume 1, Number 19 December 3, 2003

2003 Report Cards

Se Ri Pak, Grace Park
Hee-Won Han, Mi Hyun Kim
Jeong Jang, Soo-Yun Kang
Gloria Park, Jung Yeon Lee
Some other players
Grace Park

Money list total: $1,417,702 (3rd)
Scoring Average: 70.11 (3rd)
Player of the Year Total: 168.63 (3rd)
Wins: 1
Majors: 0 (3 top tens)
Top 2's: 6
Top 5's: 13
Top 10's: 19 (+ 1 outside of LPGA tour)
Missed cuts: 2
Birdies: 403 (1st - and 2nd most in history)
Eagles: 9 (T-8)
Greens in Regulation: .681 (25th)
Other notable stats:
5th in driving distance (266.5 yards); 2nd in rounds under par (62); 1st in rounds in the 60s (46, which ties the all time record); 110th in driving accuracy (66.6%); 5th in putting (28.91)

Notable achievements:
Grace finished the season with ten straight top tens; in her final event, she rallied from a poor start with back to back 69s to finish 6th.

Grace became only the second woman in LPGA history to finish the season with more than 400 birdies; she was still a few off the record of Maria Hjorth (408), but that record was set in a season with at least six more events on the schedule.

Grace also tied the record for most rounds in the 60s in a season with Kelly Robbins.

Her putting average was among the top five in the league, and her putts/green in regulation topped the league.

Grace's win at Kingsmill means she has won at least once in every season on tour. In fact, she has won exactly once in each season.

Grace also had her best scoring average, money total, position on the money list, and number of top tens ever, and broke a million in earnings in a season for the first time ever.

She also got her degree via correspondence from Ewha University in Korea, signed an enormous endorsement deal with Nike, and was featured in a Rolex and Pantene shampoo ad! AND she was named to the LPGA Board as a non-voting member.

Grace holds her trophy from the
Michelob Open

If Grace Park showed she could live up to her talent last year, she began to truly blossom this year. She set, as mentioned above, career bests in scoring average, number of birdies made, number of rounds in the 60s, money earned, number of top tens, number of top fives, number of top twos, and position on the money list.

Grace's greatest achievement this year was her enormous consistency. From start to finish, she managed to contend week after week, compiling a very impressive 19 top tens over the course of the season, including ten straight at the end. To compare, Se Ri Pak has only once beaten that number of top tens for a season, and that was this year.

However, given that she contended probably at least ten times this year, only managing one victory has got to be a disappointment. It seems like week after week, she would have that one bad round that would put her in a position of chaser; or else she would play really well until the end, then make a couple of key mistakes to fall out of contention.

Grace's other big problem continues to be her accuracy off the tee. In years past, her tendency to hit a lot of shots very off line caused her to not have a lot of top finishes. This year, she still had that problem, but everything else improved enough to offset that. If she can lick this problem, watch out.

Her putting in particular has become stellar. It can be said without much hesitation that she has become one of the best putters in the LPGA. Length + great putting = a lot of birdies, and for the second straight year, she was the top birdie-maker in the LPGA. She still does not hit greens with the consistency of a Se Ri or Annika, though, yet another area she could stand to improve a bit before next year.

Best of all, Grace showed a willingness to work very hard this year. Her conditioning has never been better, and her practice sessions are more productive, as she told this reporter at the Safeway Classic. "I was putting long hours (in) on the course, but I wasn't really doing anything," she said. "You know, just putting, not really working on anything; just hitting balls, not really working on my swing. And I finally decided enough of this."

Another great improvement this year was in her performance in the Majors. Believe it or not, before this season, Grace had only managed two top tens in Majors since joining the tour. This year alone she had three, and she did it in three different ways. At The LPGA Championship, she managed a spectacular comeback to get into a playoff with Annika Sorenstam. Just one more break and she would have had her first Major.

Her temper proved to be a problem at times; she still can get into an angry funk which costs her shots. However, she has definitely improved in this regard, and also has shown an ability not before evident to come back from a bad start. The best example of that was in her lone win, where she had a disastrous first four holes, yet got her act together and made all the big shots to win it anyway.

What she should work on:
The number one thing Grace needs to do, as has been the case since she turned pro, is tame her driver. 110th in the league is just not good enough for a player of her caliber. If she hits more fairways, she'll hit more greens, and the wins could come in bunches. She has the talent to challenge for #1, but this is the big advantage Annika Sorenstam has over her right now.

Final Grade:
A Summary:
Grace's goal coming into this year was five wins. Although she came nowhere near that, her great performance was still far better than any she had before managed. If she had managed just one more win, I would have given her an A+; still, it was a wonderful year, and she should be very proud of all she accomplished.
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