HARRIS - Victoria Park has spent most of the last decade in the United States, but still gets homesick for South Korea.
She is playing in the Island Resort Championship at Sweetgrass this week, and played a solo practice round on a balmy afternoon Monday. She spent time on all phases of her game, getting plenty of time on most holes as one of the few on the course at that time.
"I miss Korean food," she said before teeing off on the difficult par three 7th hole, where she put both shots in the left-front bunker. "I need Korean spices and stuff."
Dennis Grall | Daily Press
Victoria Park scratches her head after seeing her tee shot land in the left front bunker of No. 7 Monday during a practice round for the Symetra Tour Road to the LPGA?tournament at Sweetgrass Golf Club. Her next tee shot hit the same bunker, giving her practice at recovery shots as well for this weekend’s Island Resort Championship at Sweetgrass.
Her favorite American food? "I like all kinds of shrimp," she said, before being advised to try an Upper Peninsula delicacy, either whitefish or perch.
She came to America "about eight-nine years ago," Park said, and played golf at Oklahoma State University.
"It was hard speaking English and playing golf for about three years," she said, adding it was also difficult to find friends.
She is taking some night classes now, which is helping her golf. "Now I need to focus on my golf game," she said. "I don't have to worry about my studies. But I feel pressure of golf because I need to play better."
Park tied for fourth at the most recent Symetra Tour stop, the Tate and Lyle Players Championship in Decatur, Ill. June 17. She finished at 210 to tie Jamie Hallett, seven strokes behind Kristie Smith.
Park returned home for a visit last week as the tour took a break before coming to the Upper Peninsula.
She said wind, which can be a major factor at Sweetgrass, can affect her game, noting "I play better downwind."
Park is also working on improving her putting stroke and must become more consistent with the driver.
Park is not the only Sweetgrass participant who played well at Decatur. Leah Wigger was runner-up with 206 and is excited to return after tying for 12th here last year at 217, eight strokes behind Stephanie Kim.
"This course is in such great shape," said Wigger after playing a practice round Monday morning. "It is a little different (from 2011). It is filled in a little, it is in much better shape."
She is ranked 11th on the money list, with the top 10 advancing to the LPGA Tour next year. "I don't want to put any more pressure on myself. I'd rather take the pressure off than put pressure on (to climb up higher)," she said. "I'm taking it one tourney at a time, one shot at a time, and try not to get caught up in numbers."
Wigger, who had a good local following last year, likes Sweetgrass because it fits her game.
"It gives you (shot) options," she said. "You can be aggressive or conservative. My goal is to stick to my game plan. I tend to be a little conservative. My best chance is to keep the ball in play and give myself a birdie chance."
She knows good placement with approach shots is critical on the sloping, undulating greens. "There are a lot of subletities to the break," she said.
She also likes the wide fairways, noting "my tendancy is to spray my drives and these fairways are very forgiving off the tee."