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Se Ri Pak

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Se Ri Pak biography

Se Ri Pak qualified for the Hall of Fame at the ripe, old age of 27.

Andy Lyons / Getty Images
Se Ri Pak was the first Korean golfer to make an impact on the LPGA Tour. And what an impact - within 10 years of joining the LPGA, Pak had already qualified for the Hall of Fame.

Date of birth: September 28, 1977
Place of birth: Daejeon, South Korea

LPGA Tour Victories:

25

Major Championships:

5
• LPGA Championship: 1998, 2002, 2006
• U.S. Women's Open: 1998
• Women's British Open: 2001

Awards and Honors:

• Member, World Golf Hall of Fame
• Vare Trophy (low scoring average), 2003
• Recipient, Order of Merit from South Korea, 1998

Trivia:

• Se Ri Pak qualified for World Golf Hall of Fame in 2005, but had to wait until 2007 for induction due to minimum career length rule. When inducted, she became the youngest (age 30) living player so honored.

• In 1998, at age 20, became youngest winner of U.S. Women's Open. Pak won a 20-hole playoff for that victory, making that tournament - at 92 holes in length - the longest tournament ever in women's professional golf.

• Pak and Juli Inkster are the only players to win two of the modern majors in their rookie seasons on the LPGA.

• Her 6-0 record in playoffs is the best in LPGA Tour history (most wins without a loss).

• Pak won the 1999 Jamie Farr Kroger Classic in a 6-way playoff, the largest playoff in Tour history.

• Pak has won the Farr five times (1998, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2007). That ties the LPGA record - shared by Mickey Wright and Annika Sorenstam - for most wins in a single LPGA event.

Se Ri Pak Biography:

When Se Ri Pak burst onto the scene in 1998 with one of the best rookie seasons in LPGA Tour history, she opened the door for dozens of Korean golfers who followed her to America. She thus inaugurated one of the most important trends in women's golf at the turn of the 21st century.
Pak didn't begin playing golf as a child in South Korea until age 14. She was a track star in high school, which helped develop the powerful thighs and legs she later used in her golf swing to create remarkable stability and balance.
Despite the late start, Pak still managed to win 30 amateur tournaments in South Korea. She turned pro in 1996. Over the next two years, she played 14 events on the Korean LPGA, winning six of them and finishing second in seven others.

Pak tied for first at LPGA Q-School in 1997 and joined the tour in 1998. And it didn't take her long to make a mark: Her first win was a major, the LPGA Championship, which she won wire-to-wire.

And then her second win was also a major, the U.S. Women's Open, which she won in a notable 20-hole playoff over amateur Jenny Chuasiriporn. Pak won again the next week at the Jamie Farr Kroger Classic, then won yet again two weeks later.

Her four wins as a rookie tied Pak with Annika Sorenstam to lead the Tour. While Pak ran away with Rookie of the Year honors, Sorenstam won the points-based Player of the Year award.

Pak was a strong and consistent winner over the next several years, with four wins in 1999, and five each in 2001 and 2002. She also won more majors, although she couldn't get past Sorenstam for a money title or Player of the Year honor. From 1998-2003, Pak was runner-up on the money list four times and third once more.

In 2003, Pak competed in a Korean men's tour event and finished tenth. She won three times on the LPGA that year, with 20 out of 26 Top 10s. Her lone victory in 2004 qualified her, at age 27, for the Hall of Fame, but she would have to wait for induction until her 10th year on the LPGA Tour (2007).

A slump followed, caused both by burnout and by a steady stream of injuries. But Pak did come back to win another major, the LPGA Championship, in 2006, defeating Karrie Webb in a playoff.

With her easy smile and quick laugh, Pak became a popular player with her fellow competitors. And after seeing her success, a flood of other Korean golfers started playing the LPGA, many with much success - although none with as much success as Pak.

At the 2007 LPGA Championship, Pak officially became a Hall of Famer when the minimum career-length requirement was fulfilled.

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