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LPGA Notebook: Inbee Park is New No. 1

It may have been an off-week on the LPGA Tour, but there was still movement on the Rolex Rankings, as Inbee Park slid past Stacy Lewis, who had held the No. 1 position for the past four weeks.

How did this happen? The rankings formula is based on a 104-week rolling cycle, with points weighted more heavily for the past 52 weeks and even more for the past 13 weeks. So, even during an offweek, there can be movement within the rankings.

“This is a very big day in my golf career,” Park said. “I’m so happy to share it with my family who are here in Hawaii with me. It’s nice to reach this goal, but I know a lot of players are close to No. 1. It gives me something else to play for every week and I know it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Park’s position is precarious, as she holds just a .04 average point differential. As the LPGA heads to the Lotte Championship in Oahu, Hawaii, the top spot will be up for grabs.

There is no question that Park and Lewis are the top two golfers on the LPGA this season. We are six tournaments in and each player has two victories. Park won the season’s first major at the Kraft Nabisco Championship two weeks ago, as well as the LPGA Thailand in February. In 2012, she won twice and claimed the Vare Trophy for lowest scoring average.

Park is the eighth player to hold the No. 1 spot on the Rolex Rankings, following Annika Sorenstam (60 weeks), Lorena Ochoa (158 weeks), Jiyai Shin (26 weeks), Ai Miyazato (11 weeks), Cristie Kerr (5 weeks), Yani Tseng (109 weeks) and Stacy Lewis (4 weeks).

Jutanugarn Sisters Unite

Thai sisters Moriya and Ariya Jutanugarn are playing on different tours this year – Moriya on the LPGA and Ariya on the LET. This week, however, they are united after Ariya won the qualifier for the Lotte Championship..

Ariya drew a first-round pairing with Hyo Joo Kim and amateur sensation Lydia Ko, while Moriya is grouped with Lewis and defending champion Miyazato.

Ariya appears to be a star in the making. The AJGA’s 2012 Rolex Junior Player of the Year has transitioned to professional golf with quick success. She won the LET Qualifying Tournament in December and picked up her first LET victory in Morocco in March. That victory came five weeks after suffering a heartbreaking runner-up finish at the LPGA Thailand, where she surrendered her lead with a triple bogey on the final hole, handing the victory to Park.

Blumenherst’s Big-League Husband

The honeymoon continues for Amanda Blumenherst, who was married to Major League Baseball player Nate Freiman in December.

Freiman, waived by the Houston Astros in the spring, was picked up by the Oakland A’s. He had an RBI single in his first big-league game, which came on the eve of the Kraft Nabisco Championship. And on April 15, he hit his first major league home run, a three-run blast that helped lift the A’s past the Astros 11-2.


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