Updated: Aug, 2013

ANGELA PARK

The Facts

Birthday: August 25, 1988
Rookie Year on LPGA: 2007
Birthplace: Iguassu, Brazil
American Hometown: Torrance, CA
Best LPGA Finish:
T-2nd (2007 US Women's Open, 2008 Evian Masters)
Best LPGA Major Finish:
T-2nd (2007 US Women's Open)
Best Score: 62 (2008 P & G Beauty NW Arkansas Championship)
Best Scoring Average for a year: 71.54 (2007)
Best Season money total:
$983,922 (2007)
Best Season Money Position:
9th (2007)
Most Top Tens/Season:
8 (2007)

Rookie of the Year finish: Won it!!
Height: 5' 5"
2013 LPGA Status: None
Nicknames: None known
Sponsors: LG
How's her English?: Fluent; also speaks Korean and Portuguese
Hobbies: Reading, listening to music, chatting, texting, watching movies, Karaoke
Road to the LPGA: Earned exempt status by finishing tied for fifth at 2006 Q-School

Capsule Bio

Angela Park was born in Brazil. As a young girl, she moved to southern California, where she grew up. She took up golf and became one of the top young amateur golfers in the country, finishing in the top 10 in 24 of the 29 AJGA events she played. Perhaps her biggest achievement as an amateur was beating In Kyung Kim at the 2005 US Women's Amateur before losing to Morgan Pressel in the semifinals.

After Song Hee Kim petitioned the Futures Tour to lower its minimum age to 17, Angela decided to join the tour for 2006. First, though, she played in one final event as an amateur, finishing tied for 15th at the Kraft Nabisco Championship. She then turned pro and joined the Futures Tour, where she had good success. By the final tournament of the year, she had risen to fifth on the money list; if she could maintain that position, she would earn her exempt status for 2007. But she did not play that well in the final event, and someone else got that last card.

If Angela was crushed, she moved past it. At LPGA Q-School a few months later, she easily earned her exempt card by finishing fifth. Indeed, she even led the tournament for a while. So she will have her chance in 2007 to test herself against the game's best as one of the youngest rookies on tour.

In 2007, Angela Park almost immediately took control of the Rookie of the Year race. She struggled somewhat at the first tournament of the year, but at the second, the Fields Open, she opened the week with a 66 and continued to stay in contention much of the week, finishing tied for third in the end. She continued to play well after that, making every cut and finishing for the most part in the top 25 at the next 9 events she played.

She returned to contention at the Ginn Tribute in June, charging out to a first round lead with a 66. She notched her second top ten there. The next week, she did it again, seizing control of the first round lead. But this was a far more impressive time to do it, for it was the year's second Major, the LPGA Championship. She continued to play well all week, finishing 5th, her first top ten at a Major.

Her run at the Majors was not done. Just two weeks later, she once again took the first round lead at a Major, this time the US Women's Open. The event was plagued with rain and weather delays. Still, Park found herself in the lead for much of the first two days. Johnny Miller was so impressed with her swing that he called it the best in the entire LPGA. Going into the final round, she was still near the top of the leaderboard, and rallied towards the end to put herself close to the win with just a couple of holes to go. In the end, it wasn't enough, and she finished tied for second. But two consecutive top five finishes in Majors gave her a huge lead in the Rookie race, one she would never relinquish: she went on to become the sixth woman with Korean blood to win the Rookie of the Year award in the past ten years. Had she won either of those Majors, she would have become the youngest in history of either gender to win a Major.

She missed her only cut of the year at the year's final Major, the Women's British Open, another impressive record, and went on to notch eight top tens and make nearly a million dollars. She did not win an event, but she came close. After the Open, highlights included a fantastic final round 63 at the Navistar Classic to finish tied for third, and a week long charge at the Samsung World Championship which came up short; she finished third there, too. She ended the year with a wonderful speech accepting her Rookie of the Year award, and by playing on the losing International team at the Lexus Cup (she represented Brazil and played against the Asian squad, meaning she was facing a team of mostly Korean golfers!). Although her team lost, she won two of the three matches she played.

2008 started well for Angela Park. In the first event of the LPGA season, she was in contention to win when she was slapped with a two stroke penalty for slow play. The penalty knocked her for a loop, and she would not score another top ten until April. She really recovered, however, at the year's third Major, the US Women's Open, where she once again was in contention, finishing tied for third with In-Kyung Kim. The next week, she shot her career low score, a 62, and scored another top ten in Arkansas. A few weeks after that, she was once again in contention, this time at the Evian Masters. In fact, she went to a playoff for the title against Helen Alfredsson and Korean Na Yeon Choi, but lost on the first hole.

Park struggled a bit after that, but with more than $800,000 in earnings in her sophomore year, she showed she was not just a one year flash in the pan.

2009 was a puzzling year for Angela. She started very well, with three top tens in her first four starts. After that, everything completely fell apart. A player who missed almost no cuts in her first two seasons suddenly was missing them left and right. From mid-May to early November, she did not make a single LPGA cut. As far as we know, she was not injured; she simply had a melltdown with her long game. She only rarely could keep her drives straight for very long.

As it turns out, she was never able to fix her problems, and in 2010 she abandoned her career and began working as a hotel receptionist in Los Angeles. In an interview with a Brazilian magazine, she explained that she had lost her passion for the game, and without passion she could not motivate herself to continue. She did not discount the possibility she would return, but for the time being is finished with golf, a shocking and sad ending to a career that had held so much promise just a few years earlier.

In 2012, Angela did in fact prepare for her return to golf! She appeared at the LPGA's Brazil Cup and worked towards returning to golf full time, perhaps even the LPGA tour. She entered Q-School in the Fall, but did not get out of the preliminary rounds. Nonetheless, every indication is that she is going to continue her comeback efforts.

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