Se Ri Pak has won two straight majors and rewritten the LPGA record book in the Jamie Farr Kroger Classic at Sylvania, Ohio.
And she's just getting started."I have many, many things to learn," the 20-year-old South Korean said after routing the field by nine strokes Sunday. "This is a good start, but I must do much work. I am not finished yet."
Her final-round 5-under-par 66, after record rounds of 61 and 63, left her at 23-under 261. The victory, less than a week after her win in the U.S. Women's Open in a playoff Monday, was worth $120,000.
The 261 total is the lowest in a 72-hole LPGA tournament, four strokes better than the previous record set by Wendy Ward in the 1997 Fieldcrest Classic on a par-72 course and matched by Lisa Walters in this year's Oldsmobile Classic on a par-72 course and Kelly Robbins in last year's Farr on the 6,319-yard, par-71 Highland Meadows Golf Club.
Her 23-under score in relation to par matched the lowest in LPGA history, set by Ward last year and tied by Walters.
"I am only 20 years old. I have many, many years left," she said. "I can play many many years, can play in many, many tournaments. I will play my best in every tournament."
While speaking in the interview room, she cuddled her beagle puppy, Happy. She has won two tournaments in as many starts since buying the dog - "For $300!" she exclaimed - just before the Open.
She need not worry about the cost. She has only three top-10 finishes in 16 starts this year, but all three were wins. Her other victory came in another major, the LPGA Championship. She leads the money list with $645,170.
Pak's 61 in the second round was the lowest score ever in an LPGA event. Her 63 in the second round gave her the lowest consecutive rounds in tour history.
She also became only the third player, following Louise Suggs in 1952 and Jane Geddes in 1986, to follow a U.S. Women's Open victory with another win her next start.
Pak has been compared to Tiger Woods. Others have measured her rapid start on the women's tour with that Nancy Lopez, who won nine tournaments as a rookie in 1978, or with another Hall of Famer, Betsy King.
The former track sprinter got off to a relatively slow start. She had three birdies and a bogey on the front side - three-putting at the par-4 4th. The birdies came on putts of 14 feet at No. 3, 12 feet at No. 7, and 10 feet above the hole at No. 8.
She started the back side by rolling in two long birdie putts and then at No. 16 rammed in a 25-footer to get to 23-under.
She encountered her only real difficulty of the day when she pulled her second shot to the par-5 17th into a stand of fir trees left of the green. She punched out to the front fringe and left her lengthy first putt 8 feet short. But she rolled in the par putt while the gallery went wild.
At the par-5 closing hole, with the outright record on the line, she left her approach 20 feet short.
Her birdie putt slid right of the hole, then she tapped in to thunderous applause.
Her lead never dropped below seven shots all day.
"Realistically, I was playing for second," said Lisa Hackney, who shot a 65 and was able to only carve one stroke out of a 10-shot deficit. "
Pak's final-round playing partner, Karrie Webb, had a 67 and was third at 13-under 271.
SENIOR PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP: Gil Morgan birdied six of the first 10 holes and held on for a three-stroke victory over Hale Irwin in the Senior Players Championship in Dearborn, Mich. Morgan shot 66 for a 21-under-par 267, breaking Dave Stockton's 1994 record of 17-under at the TPC of Michigan.
Irwin, the Senior PGA Tour's leading money-winner, closed with a 68 for 270. Isao Aoki finished third at 275, followed by Bob Murphy and Jim Colbert at 278. Jose Maria Canizares finished with 69 for 280, one better than Lee Trevino had closed with 70. Sentimental favorite Jack Nicklaus never made a serious charge, shooting a 70 for 279.
QUAD CITY CLASSIC: Steve Jones shot a 4-under-par 66 for a 17-under 263 total to win his eighth PGA Tour title with a one-stroke victory over Scott Gump in the Quad City Classic in Coal Valley, Ill.
It was Jones' first tournament win since the Bell Canadian Open last September. Gump was trying to become the seventh first-time winner on tour this year and the third in as many weeks, finished with a 68 for a 264 total, one stroke better than Kenny Perry, who closed with a 68.