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Korean feels good about state she's in



Published: Thu, July 26, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Four of Se Ri Pak's 11 wins have come in Ohio.

By PETE MOLLICA

VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF

VIENNA -- Se Ri Pak loves the layout at Squaw Creek Country Club and that could mean trouble for the rest of the LPGA Tour professionals, who will tee it up Friday in the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic.

Pak played a practice round Tuesday morning at the course and was extremely pleased.

"The golf course is perfect," she said.

"I really like this course and the conditions are so good."

The 24-year-old native of Daejeon, Korea, who resides in Orlando, Fla., will play in her fourth Giant Eagle tournament.

She won the tournament in 1998, one of five wins that season as she was named rookie of the year and was runner-up for player of the year honors.

Pak enters play this week with 11 career LPGA championships, including three this season, and she said her game is in very good shape coming into the Giant Eagle.

On top of her game: "I always come into a tournament with strong feelings, but those feelings get even stronger when you come to a place where you've won before," she said.

"I always hope that I have my 'A Game' as Tiger [Woods] would say, but I'm hitting the ball very well and my putting keeps getting better," she added.

Pak said she struggled last season, but blamed herself for that.

"I was putting so much pressure on myself last year, then about September I said to myself that this isn't my last year on Tour and that I've got a lot of years ahead so I stopped pushing myself so hard."

Tour play: Pak played well at the end of last season and started strong this year, winning the first tournament of the season, the Your/Life Vitamins LPGA Classic.

She followed that with back-to-back second-place finishes at the Welch's Circle K Championship and the Standard Register Ping, and two weeks later won again at the Longs Drugs Challenge in California.

Her other win this year was at the Jamie Farr Kroger Classic in Toledo, a tournament she has won three of the last four years.

"The Jamie Farr tournament was the first tournament that I ever played in on the LPGA Tour before I became a member by special exemption. I just love that event," she said.

Ohio: Four of Pak's 11 Tour wins have come in the Buckeye State.

"I don't know what it is about Ohio, but I love to play here," she said.

"I think it's the people here, they are so nice. I feel very comfortable here."

Pak said that if the course and weather conditions stay good all week, scores should be low for the tournament.

"It's going to come down to putting, and some of these greens are very difficult to putt," she said.

"This course requires a lot of different shots, but I still think that it will take possibly 15-under to win -- at least 13-under."




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