GALLOWAY, NJ – JUNE 10: Annie Park celebrates her eagle on the ninth green during the third and final round of the ShopRite LPGA Classic Presented by Acer on the Bay Course at Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club on June 10, 2018, in Galloway, New Jersey. (Photo by Michael Cohen/Getty Images)
By E. Michael Johnson
Annie Park has not had an easy go of it in her early LPGA Tour career, but the 2013 NCAA champion combined a solid week of ball-striking with other-worldly putting (particularly in the final round) to win the LPGA’s ShopRite Classic.
Park hit 44 of 54 greens in regulation for an 81.48 percent clip with her Ping iBlade irons. That allowed her to make just two bogeys for the week, including an impressive bogey-free stretch that started after the 16th hole in the first round, all the way through the final hole. But it was Park’s putting that carried her to her first LPGA Tour win.
On Sunday, Park dropped a 60-foot bomb for eagle on the ninth hole and followed it with another lengthy birdie putt on 13, before a 30-plus footer for another birdie fell on 14.
The putter Park uses is a Ping Vault Bergen Platinum long putter at 45 inches that she holds away from her chest in compliance with the rule against anchoring. The head weighs 500 grams and has 2 degrees of loft.
According to Ping, Park has always been streaky with the putter going from very short blades to conventional mallets and recently over the start of this year, moving to the long putter. Seeing the line when over the ball has been a challenge for Park and this style of putting stance and stroke allows her to see more of her intended target line compared to the shorter conventional length putters.
“It’s actually helped me out a lot,” said Park. “I’ve always struggled with putting. I like it, but it’s also kind of hard because it’s longer and heavier. It took a while for me to get used to the putter, but I really like it.”
Especially on Sunday.
What Annie Park had in the bag at the ShopRite Classic:
Ball: Titleist Pro V1
Driver: Ping G, 9 degrees
3-wood: Ping G400 Stretch, 13 degrees
Hybrid: Ping G400, 19 degrees
Irons (4-PW): Ping iBlade
Wedges: Ping Glide 2.0 SS (50, 56, 60 degrees)
Putter: Ping Vault Bergen Platinum